The 1,500 runners who will begin their leg of the Bourbon Chase in Stanford Friday night have an ominous task ahead of them; the course description describes the route as a “monster of a leg (that) runs on narrow country roads in serious darkness.” But for runners who would sign up for a 200-mile road race, it probably sounds exciting.
The annual Bourbon Chase, that begins at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont and passes the Heaven Hill, Maker's Mark, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve distilleries, starts at 8 a.m. on Oct. 7 and runners should be getting to Stanford around 10 p.m. Lincoln County Tourism Director Jamie Leigh said that is earlier than last year. “Last year we were expecting them around 11:30 and at 10 o'clock they were calling my cell saying, 'Get your people in place.'”
Volunteer firefighters will have an engine with flashing lights on US 150 to guide runners as they come into town from Danville, and community volunteers will assist teams at the First Southern Performing Arts Center on Lancaster where the relays change over. There will be other volunteers stationed to safely guide the runners through town and out on to KY 300 where they begin the courses longest, darkest route on the way to their next stop in Junction City.
Leigh expects that runners will be in the area from around 10 p.m. until 4:30 in the morning. The runners will be wearing headlamps and flashing lights on their backs, but drivers are urged to be especially vigilant because downtown Stanford is going to be a busy place Friday night. And more importantly, some of the runners will be your neighbors. The tourism office has partnered with Intercounty Energy to sponsor a local team for the first time.
Profits from the Bourbon Chase are donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Lung Association and the National Hospice Association.