LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The time is now to start training for the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) miniMarathon and the Marathon.

KDF and Norton Sports Health are offering a free 15-week virtual training program to all 2021 runners. Registration for the marathons opened Wednesday at DerbyFestivalMarathon.com

Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO, Matt Gibson said in a statement, "There’s no better way to prepare to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles than with the Norton Sports Health Training Program." He added, “Even though we aren’t able to gather for our traditional group runs and training sessions, we can still train together and cheer each other on to the finish.” 

The virtual program is meant for runners and walkers of all levels and even though it is virtual, the program will still offer week-by-week schedules to help participants stay on top of their mileage. Participants will also have access to weekly discussions, nutrition, health, and safety tips. 

The first 800 people to register for the marathons and the training program will receive a free shirt. Once all the shirts are gone, participants can still register to participate in the training program. Shirts are only being promised to the first 800 that register for both. 

The official training is set to begin on Jan. 12, 2021, at noon.

KDF is giving runners the option of choosing between virtual or in-person race options. The in-person events will comply with COVID-19 guidelines and minimum capacity. 

“As we look forward to 2021, public health and safety remains our top priority and we continue to closely monitor the developments surrounding COVID-19,” said Gibson. “We’ll keep everyone updated on how it will impact our events.”

2021 will be the 48th annual miniMarathon and the 20th annual Marathon.