LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Just one day away from the first leg of the Kentucky Derby Festival marathon and mini-marathon, runners are preparing for a different kind of race.
In an unusual year, following a 2020 that saw no in-person racing at all, the event will be broken up over four days.
“We’re just excited to be able to do something,” KDF spokeswoman Aimee Boyd said.
This year, organizers say they are putting health and safety first, in part by staggering start times, on staggered days, with altered running routes.
Plus, the usual Saturday chaos that surrounds the event downtown will be spread out among four days, too, which means some changes had to be made.
“When we were looking to do the race this year over multiple days,” Boyd said, “we knew we couldn’t close all those downtown streets for four days in a row. This year’s course is actually using walking paths and bike lanes, and trying to limit any street closures or impact on folks around those areas.”
There will still be a few closures on those days. The first day of races is Thursday, running through Saturday.
The races will start and end at Lynn Family Stadium, but not before making stops along the way in Southern Indiana.
During those four days, you should still be aware of potential road closures if you’re driving downtown, even if there will be fewer of them than in years past.
“You’ll see street signs that say, ‘Hey, runners coming up,’” Boyd said. “We may have restricted lane usage, so you’re going to notice that, maybe some detours, but not as big of an impact as we’ve had in those previous years on Saturday.”
KDF has planned other events during the week, too, including the BalloonFest, the Ken-Ducky Derby and the $1 million hole-in-one golf contest at Shawnee Golf Course.
Organizers have been trying to give that money away for a few years at the course, but nobody’s been able to get that evasive hole-in-one.
According to KDF, these are the closures you can expect during the four-day span:
Start and Finish Line area:
Adams Street between Cabel Street and North Campbell Street will be closed Thursday through Sunday, between 4:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day. Traffic will be detoured around the area.
River Road will be closed between East Witherspoon and Frankfort Avenue on Saturday and Sunday. Traffic will be detoured around the area.
Big Four Bridge:
The Big Four Bridge will be used for runners from Thursday through Sunday. It will remain open to pedestrians, but signage will be set up to alert the public about runners on the bridge.
Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville and Clarksville will have a restricted lane between Pearl Street and Warner Avenue from Thursday through Sunday. Traffic will flow around the runners.
West Water Street in New Albany will be closed at 10th Street on Saturday.