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From Bourbon Chase to Iron Horse to Brickhouse

My Bourbon Chase van mates. Smiles were at the start, not middle of night.

My Bourbon Chase van mates. Smiles were at the start, not middle of night.

By LARRY VAUGHT

For several years I had heard about how much fun the Bourbon Chase, a 200-mile relay for teams of either 12 or 6, was and how I should try it.

Well, somehow Kimberly Hamilton talked me into it this year — and I survived.

Was it fun? You tell me how Oct. 14-15 went.

— Twice I found myself standing at the back of a line of 50 or more people waiting to use a port-a-john.

— In a 28-hour period, I had to run three different legs, including one at 2 a.m. The legs all were different distances and involved different terrains.

— Not that I was tired after my first leg which started at Maker’s Mark, but I slept an hour in the backseat of our team vehicle parked in downtown Perryville.

— One team member hurt his Achilles tendon. Another member lost a toe nail. Another one re-injured an ankle. One had stomach cramps while running. Me, I lost a toe nail and got jock itch.

So does that sound like fun? No. Well, guess what? It actually was in a weird sort of way. I met so many interesting people — Team Dontpullahammy was the best — and numerous Kentucky fans.

The 3 a.m. country ham and biscuit at Salvisa Baptist Church was a lifesaver. Same with the free doughnut at Four Roses in the dark Saturday morning. And Jennifer Montavon-Green (her husband Matt was one of our team members) treated our van to bacon, eggs and pancakes when we took a three-hour break at their home in Lawrenceburg.

I also got a kick out of seeing Boyle County track coach Brent Wagner volunteering to work not one, but two, exchange stations. And one was in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. That was impressive.

Maybe not as impressive as seeing teammate Troy Vonn wearing his togo at the finish line in downtown Lexington Saturday night. Vonn is the most dedicated runner I know and a great guy. But Troy in a toga … no way did I anticipate that.

Celebration drink to end Bourbon Chase.

Celebration drink to end Bourbon Chase.

Our van driver, Rebecca Baugh, was priceless. No matter what anyone says, I am convinced she had the hardest job. She had to get six of us to the right spots on time and navigate through traffic and runners. Not once did she get cranky despite her lack of sleep.

The mandatory video we had to watch called van drivers the “Protector, Prophet and Poet” for the team. It was right, too, as she treated us to this poem before our final leg:

We’ve been traipsing about Kentucky
Running the bourbon Chase
Doing our best to keep track of
Lights and vests and pace

Though at times we have been cranky
And some of us did smell
We can still be grateful
That none of us fell

We’re nearing the finish line
And our time will be complete
And everyone will know Running Spirit
Is the team that can’t be beat.

So thank you for your effort
And patience with me
Will we do this again next year?  
We’ll have to wait and see

Yes we will. Especially since Vonn, Derik Hunt and Brent Fronczak were as foolish as me and after the Friday-Saturday Bourbon Chase we turned around and did the Iron Horse Half-Marathon Sunday morning in Midway. That was another 13.1 miles.

Derik Hunt, left, and Troy Vonn ran the Iron Horse after the Bourbon Chase like I do. So did Bourbon teammate Brent Fronczak.

Derik Hunt, left, and Troy Vonn ran the Iron Horse after the Bourbon Chase like I do. So did Bourbon teammate Brent Fronczak.

But we all finished. I did surprisingly well to finish in 2 hours, 19 minutes — a lot better than I thought I would. It was a gorgeous day — just like Friday and Saturday were — and is a great, great course with so many friendly spectators. And after the Bourbon Chase grind, the 13.1 miles at Midway did not seem quite as tough as usual.

The support from spectators and other runners in Midway is superb. It’s not about the time, just the finish.

Now I’ve had over a week to rest and heal — sort of. So what is this wise man going to do? I am going to try the 13.1-mile BrickHouse half-marathon Sunday in Stanford. No, am not brave enough to try the 19.6 mile Betweenathon. Instead, I am going to join Bourbon Chase teammates Julie Leonard and Jessica Wigginton, who helped me tremendously during our Bourbon Chase sage, for the half-marathon.

The Betweenathon, half-marathon and 10K all start at William Whitley House State Historic Site and Sportsman Hill. That’s where horses were ordered to run counter-clockwise in protest of the English races that were clockwise. This was the first place in America with counter-clockwise racing.

Former UK punter Jason Todd and his wife, Angela, organize this event that already has runners from 13 state registered and it is great. For more information go to https://runsignup.com/Race/KY/Stanford/BrickHouseBetweenathon1965milesHalfMarathon10K.

And just like the Iron Horse, I’ll be joining Mark Buerger, Anthony White and Curtis Burch on Community Trust Bank Sunday Morning Sports on WLAP (630 AM) when I finish.

2 comments

  1. TrueBlueJohn

    Larry, I now live in Versailles and saw part of the Bourbon Chase. I have two grandchildren who are on the middle and elementary school cross-country teams for Woodford County, and they had a meet that Saturday. We were dodging runners on the way to the meet. It looked like it would have been a memorable event.

    1. Larry Vaught

      I might have been one of those you were dodging, but it sure was fun

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