The Bourbon Chase is an overnight relay, which began this morning at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont and will end Saturday night in Lexington. There are 300 teams in the race, and the last team will start at 7 p.m. today.
“It sold out in five hours,” Mike Kuntz, event director for the Bourbon Chase, said. He explains that most of the runners, while they do compete to win, are more focused on having a good time as they run.
When registering, the team captains have to determine a projected time for their team to finish and a pace for each runner’s 10K. This determines the time a team will start the event. The entire team is not allowed to take more or less than 90 minutes of when they projected. If they do, it can result in a two-hour penalty.
According Kuntz, while this is rare, it does occasionally happen. The problem comes when runners arrive so early there is no support staff to receive them.
For those who make it to their exchanges at the right time, it is kind of a big deal because it is like, “everyone has their own private finish line.”
The relay is broken into 36 legs for teams of 12. Each runner on a team must run one leg before any member can start a second leg. Ultimately, every runner will have to run three legs, which could add up to distances of 11 to 19 miles.
Some teams have only six members, meaning their members will have to run twice as far as other teams. However, the smaller teams will compete only against teams of the same size.
Eight team divisions are based on gender, age and team size. One category is specifically for teams representing their businesses.
The important things for local residents to remember are it is an overnight, open road event and traffic will be allowed to flow freely on the roads while the teams are running. It is likely drivers will encounter participants running in the dark.
Those who begin running after 6:30 p.m. and before 8 a.m. will be required to wear reflective vests, headlamps and flashing LED “rear” lights. If the runner doesn’t have these items, they will not be allowed to run their leg.
The race enters Boyle County on leg 12, as runners travel down U.S. 150, entering Perryville just past Buell Street, known as Merchants Row. Runners will remain in Boyle County, continuing on U.S. 150 into downtown Danville on West Main Street.
Runners are expected to enter Danville about 1 a.m. They will then turn back onto U.S. 150/Stanford Avenue and cross into Lincoln County, making another exchange on Main Street in Stanford.
The course then takes runners for leg 17 on Ky. 78/300 in Lincoln County, where they will run eight miles until they reach U.S. 127. Leg 18 takes them straight up U.S 127, back into Boyle County, onto Main Street in Danville. The runners on leg 19 will venture onto U.S. 127 into Mercer County.
From there, they will follow the U.S. 127 bypass, then turn onto Beaumont Avenue heading into Harrodsburg. On Main Street, they will hand off to the next leg, which continues up U.S. 127. Runners will then veer onto Kirkwood Road/Ky. 1987, before turning onto Bondsville Road, which leads leg 23 to the northern tip of the county, where they hand off to leg 24.
This leg will travel out of Mercer County and continue on the route. Eventually, runners will end at Triangle Park in Lexington, where a big celebration is planned for the runners and support crew.
“It’s a great time. It really is a celebration of the best of the Bluegrass,”Kuntz said.