Marathon morning in Kentucky.  Overcast & humid – 90% chance of rain, just a matter of time.

My Old Kentucky Home” played pre-race.  Felt like Derby day.  FAANNNTASTIC!

Halfers & full marathoners shared today’s Start.  Assigned Corral D, minute between each starting corral.  Expecting heavy rain, overdressed for the a.m. humid temps.  Began stripping layers after mile 2; holding on to discarded clothing, still sensing precip.

Mile 8 – Churchill Downs.

My step-father gambled on the horses for years.  First Derby winner I remember was filly Genuine Risk in 1980; officially Derby-hooked after Gato del Sol’s victory two years later – a gray horse running 21-1 odds, 10th highest payout in Derby history.  Skip was killed in a car accident in 2008.  Every time I watch horse racing, I remember Skip.  Always.

Fast forward to 2015 – passed mile marker 8, now running in front of horse racing’s most iconic track, Churchill Downs.  Tunneled down, then UP thru the Entrance where next weekend’s Derby horses will meet the track.  WOW!  Experience I’ll soon not forget.

Entered Iroquois Park, canopying trees shielded me from streaming mist/light rain.  Up & down rolling hills.

Mile 11 – downpour.  Gave in to the rain, all part of the experience.  Cold, yes – but I’m gonna survive, just gonna get really really wet 🙂

Hill at mile 21, saw a military guy slow to a crawl – “hit the wall“.  “Come on, man”, waved him up & he climbed that hill.  Short “thanks, man” & we kept running.  Mile 22.  Mile 23: JT, a college kid in a bright pink singlet, charity-running for breast cancer.  Military Guy called out “Come on” – & now we were 3.  Mile 25, I slowed.  “Just one more mile” – now it was Murray State providing encouragement.

Tightest camaraderie to date between 3 strangers.  I thanked JT as we received our medals.  Military Guy caught up as I was collecting my post-race bagel.  Introduced his wife.  I congratulated him on his 1st marathon finish.

Will long remember finishing today’s marathon – my 27th – & the camaraderie shared between three strangers endurance running in Louisville, Kentucky.  Thanks guys, appreciate the journey.

 

Kentucky Derby Marathon: K R Haga – FINISH in 4:31:13.  Time of Arrival: 12:02 PM.

 

LOVED mile 8 - running thru Churchill Downs.  WOW!  Experience I'll soon not forget.

LOVED mile 8 – running thru Churchill Downs.  Experience I’ll soon not forget.

#27 in the books, next weekend - Wisconsin

#27 in the books, next weekend – Wisconsin

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