Once we left the city park the course was flat and heading for Churchill Downs. We entered Churchill Downs at about mile 8. As I was going into the Downs I called Pam, my wife, to tell her where I was. The picture above shows where we went into the Downs. We ran into a tunnel and came out on the infield. Preparations were already underway for the Derby on May 02, 2009. There were huge white tents everywhere. We ran on an asphalt path. I made a pit stop again. The smell of horses was everywhere and there were horses & jockeys running the track. It was cool to actually be running inside Churchill Downs. I stopped and took some pictures, one of which is above of the two famed steeples which you see all the time on television.
We ran through another tunnel and came out under the grandstand and prepared to leave the Downs. Just as we left we passed mile marker 9. I figured at this point I could end up with a pretty good time. It was really warm and I grabbed a bottle of water at the next stop and took my final gel. The course turned north and headed for downtown Louisville.
The split for the mini and the full was at mile 12. Mini runners went to the left. I turned left and again let my wife know where I was on the course. She told me they had found seats in the bleachers at the finish line. At about mile 12 & 1/2 Pam told me I could beat the 2 & 1/2 hour time and I told her I was going to beat 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Both sides of the street were packed with spectators cheering on runners starting just before the mile 13 marker. It was so cool to see all the people. I made a last right turn and could see the finish line. I looked to my right and saw my own cheering section, Pam, Abby & Andy waving and yelling at me. That was really cool. They took some pictures of me, one which is above. I crossed the finish line and thought I DID IT. The time on my watch showed 2:16:06. I was pretty excited to have completed the mini in less than 2:20. I found some more Powerade and food. The bullpen like area for runners was packed and stacked. It took me about 15 minutes to get together with my family. I hugged my wife and daughter and we talked about what running the course was like. We walked back to where they had parked the car and headed to Abby & Andy's home.
Later in the afternoon I checked the Festival website and looked at the official time results. My "chip time" showed I ran the course in exactly 2 hours & 16 minutes. I was really pleased with this time and told Pam I wanted to better that time at the Disneyland 1/2 in September. I had a great time and will most certainly run this race again.
Thanks for reading.
Til next time, run strong & enjoy the moment.