LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Registration opens this week for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon.
And the largest road race in the state is celebrating a major milestone. The 2023 race will mark the 50th anniversary of the half-marathon since its inception in 1974.
The half marathon and marathon are an annual spring tradition in Louisville, and a prominent part of the Derby Festival, which is a month-long celebration leading up to the Kentucky Derby. It includes a firework show, a balloon glow and a steamboat race.
“One of the highlights of the 2023 festival will be commemorating the 50th running of one of our favorite spring traditions — the miniMarathon,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival president and CEO. “Over the years, the support from the local running community has helped make the race what it is today, as it marks the largest day of road racing in Kentucky. We know there’s nothing mini about it and we can’t wait to celebrate this historic run.”
The GE Appliances Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon is set for Saturday, April 29, 2023. Registration for the landmark race opens on Thursday, Sept. 8, and race organizers planned a special way to commemorate the occasion. For the first 50 consecutive hours of registration, runners can sign up for the miniMarathon for $50. The cost for the Marathon will be $60. Registration opens at 9 a.m. on Sept. 8, and the special promotion will last until 11 a.m. on Sept. 10.
After that, the price for the miniMarathon will be $65 and $75 for the Marathon.
In addition to the half marathon and full marathon, the Derby Festival is also offering a marathon relay and the virtual miniMarathon and Marathon.
The in-person races will start simultaneously at 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, on Main Street near Louisville Slugger Field, and then finish on Adams Street, just outside of Lynn Family Stadium.
The course for both distances will be very similar to the 2022 event. All race participants will get to experience the sights of beautiful downtown Louisville, the historic Old Louisville neighborhood, Churchill Downs and parts of the scenic Olmsted Park System, among many other attractions as they run. Marathoners will again cross the Big Four Bridge to run along the scenic Ohio River Greenway before returning to Lynn Family Stadium.
GE Appliances is sponsoring the event for the second year in a row. GE President and CEO Kevin Nolan said he was excited for the venture, especially since so many GE employees participate in the race every year.
“We’re a company that really values health and wellness. Every year, hundreds of our employees run or walk the race as individuals or as GE Appliances teams," he said. "We’ve been a part of the Kentucky Derby Festival since the very beginning, and we’ll have something special planned to celebrate these milestones."
The Dick’s Sporting Goods Race Expo will also return for race week in 2023, as well as the free Norton Sports Health Training Program to help all levels of runners get ready for the spring races.
The annual half-marathon began in 1974 with just 301 runners. Since then, it has added the full marathon, and has grown to attract an average of 10-12,000 runners to Louisville every spring. The April race will mark the 22nd run of the full marathon.