The second annual running of The Bourbon Chase brought bourbon and running enthusiasts from 44 different states to the Bluegrass for the 200 mile, 12 man relay race. More than 2800 runners participated in this year's event, which was held on October 22-23. The race began at 8 a.m. in Clermont, home of Jim Beam, and concluded at Triangle Park in downtown Lexington with a huge finish-line celebration.
For Mike Kuntz, race founder and director, the success of the second annual relay race is thrilling. "We always believed we had something extra-special to showcase through a relay race in Kentucky, and now we know it to be true. The distilleries and host communities have welcomed runners from around the country with wonderful Kentucky hospitality, and the runners, in turn, have become overnight fans of Kentucky bourbon, the stunning scenery and the friendly people of the Commonwealth."
The greatest testament to the success of the second-year event is the fact that the 2011 race is already sold out. Next October 7-8, 200 teams will again hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in pursuit of winning the 2011 Bourbon Chase. Kuntz noted, "It's virtually unheard of for a start-up race like The Bourbon Chase to sell out so quickly, yet just nine days after the 2010 event, we were sold out! The response from the runners has been incredible."
"We've been excited and impressed with the tremendous growth and popularity of this event over the last two years," Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association, said. "But I don't think we ever dreamed it would sell out a year in advance. That's an incredible tribute to Mike and his team, and it says a lot about the skyrocketing appeal of Kentucky Bourbon. Congratulations to everyone involved."
Along route for the 2010 race, runners were treated to the sights, sounds and smells of each of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, as well as stunning scenery in the rolling hills of horse country. The finish-line party included live music, a bourbon tasting for all race participants, an array of delicious Kentucky Proud food and beverages and an awards ceremony. "We wanted to make sure runners celebrated in true Lexington style-with great food, great music and great Kentucky bourbon," said Mary Quinn Ramer, vice president of tourism marketing for the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A Kentucky team received the highest honor of the evening in the 2010 event: winning the race. The "Speakeasies", a team from Louisville, ran the entire 200-mile course is 20:45:02. Lebanon received the Most Spirited Community Award. And a team from Atlanta best embodied the true spirit of the event. Team "784 Years of Spirit" is composed of 12 runners whose average age is 65, with its oldest runner ringing in at the age of 75.