Thousands beat the heat for annual Memorial Day event

Published: May. 30, 2011 at 3:33 PM EDT|Updated: May. 30, 2011 at 3:49 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Several roads were closed Monday morning and barricades and flashing lights were everywhere in downtown Louisville.  All the upheaval, however, was planned for a major annual event.

While many of us pause to remember our service men and women this memorial day, others geared up and headed out early for the Biking, Walking, and Paddling event which started at Waterfront Park and took a scenic route around part of the city.

The release of a cannon signals the release of the crowd for the annual event, with the water works added new this year.

"Louisville was founded because of where we are on the rivers so we want to get people back to the water," said Mayor Greg Fischer.

A sunny, humid day raised the mercury, but the dry conditions may have also raised the turn out.

"We'll be up to 6-8,000 people out here this morning getting fit," the Mayor said.

Everyone who made up the huge crowd had their own reason for making the trek.

"It's a gorgeous day. I'm meeting friends riding with Norton cancer institute bike to beat cancer and I've got my son out here and we're just going to enjoy the weather," said Lacie Crone.

"I love the family -- it's a family gathering and the exercise," said Andrea Miller.  When asked about the hot weather she said, "Yeah it's kind of hot but they are furnishing us with water."

"I love the opportunity to participate with the closed streets and not having to deal with the traffic. My daughter and her friend are here to have some fun and get some exercise. It's an easy course. The mayor's here, it's a beautiful day so looking forward to it," Derek Siebert said.

When asked about the hot weather Siebert said, "I'm not bothered by it, there are plenty of water stations and it's better than rain."

That excitement is something sweat couldn't steal, for the up to 15 mile journey.  The event is believed to have set a record for participation; and the boating potion could expand next year.

At least one person was taken to the hospital; it wasn't clear the cause.

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