LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The miniMarathon and Marathon kick-off two weeks of Derby activities in Louisville, but this year there will be some changes to the courses. For the first time, both races will start and finish in downtown Louisville.
According to a news release from the Derby Festival Committee, the races will start on Main Street, alongside Louisville Slugger Field, and finish just outside the entrance to Kroger's Fest-a-Ville venue at Preston and Witherspoon streets.
Both races will start at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 30.
"The course changes are as a result of the feedback we received from surveying runners about what they liked and didn't like about the route," said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Derby Festival. "We feel like the new course will be more enjoyable for both race participants and spectators. The start line on Main Street will showcase one of the city's more historic and scenic corridors, and the finish line location will make for an exciting setting as the runners go past a tunnel of fans."
Berry says another reason for the course change was to showcase the unique architecture on Main Street, including the Museum Row attractions. Runners in both races will still run a lap inside the infield at Churchill Downs racetrack and will now pass by Central Park and the St. James Court neighborhood. Marathon runners will no longer cross the Second Street Bridge for a segment in Southern Indiana.
"We are grateful for the support of the public going back nearly 40 years with the mini, especially the residents of the South End, who will still be able to cheer on the Marathon competitors," said Berry.
Berry says food vendors at the start and finish line may be selling breakfast and other food "so it should make for a more comfortable and exciting atmosphere for both runners and spectators."
For the third year in a row, combined registration for both races will be capped at 15,000 participants. The races reached the 15,000 cap in March the past two years, closing registration more than a month before the event. The early registration deadline for the Marathon and mini has been extended to midnight on Feb.14. Entry fees for the mini are currently $50 and $65 for the Marathon. Registration is open online at www.derbyfestivalmarathon.com.