This past Saturday just over 6,000 runners took to the streets in the 16th Annual Papa John’s 10 Miler, the final leg of the Triple Crown of Running. This race is one of my favorite in Louisville with beautiful scenery and a challenging, but not overwhelming course. The weather started off a little chilly at 36°F but it warmed up to a brisk 51°F by the finish with clear skies and sunshine throughout.
The race begins at Third Street, near Central Avenue and just a few blocks from the legendary Churchill Downs. The first three miles are fairly flat but don’t be fooled – you’re running very gradually uphill. The winding course continues down Southern Parkway and up into Iroquois Park for the second three miles. Iroquois Park is winding and hilly but the fresh spring blooms and buds make it all worth it. Once you’ve conquered the final hill within the park it’s time to head back out onto Southern Parkway, and it’s downhill all the way back to Third Street. Make sure you’ve saved some gas in your tank because at mile 9 you’ve got a final hill – the Central avenue overpass. It’s challenging for sure but once you’re over it you’ve reached the home stretch! A couple more turns and into the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium you go to the finish line at the 50 yard hash mark on the football field. As an added bonus the race finish line was live streamed on WHAS-11 for friends and family to watch or DVR.
The gear for this race is pretty nice with a Nike
Dri-Fit Tech Shirt, this year it was black with the race logo on the front center. I like the shirt but wish they had done a different color – I typically only wear sleeved shirts in the early spring and fall when I would prefer a bright or neon color for dusk/dawn running. But otherwise the shirt fits and looks great!
This year was the second year in a row that the race has featured a medal upon completion! While I’m not a fan of getting a medal for every race you do, I do think that a medal for any race with double digit mileage is definitely acceptable! The medals looked great and were well done.
The post-race area is well stocked with Papa John’s pizza, PowerBars, Gatorade, water, apples, and bananas. As with many races these days I did notice a few of the runners, and even some spectators, taking more than what I would consider fair after the race, three Gatorade here, five slices of pizza there, etc. But that’s just a personal pet peeve and I’m hopeful that there was plenty in reserve for the walkers and runners who finished towards the back of the pack. (Be considerate, runner folks! The post-race food isn’t meant to be your personal smorgasbord.)
Along with the adults, around 250 children participated in the Kids’ Fun Runs featuring The Pepperoni Race (50 yard dash) – Ages 3 – 5, The Cheese Race (100 yard dash) – Ages 6 – 8, and The Tomato Sauce Race (200 yards) – Ages 9 – 10.
Overall, I had a great time on Saturday, setting a new PR complete with negative splits! The Papa John’s 10 Miler is a wonderful race with great on course entertainment (DJ’s sprinkled throughout) and course support. If you’re looking for a challenge and aren’t quite ready to commit to a half marathon or longer distance I would definitely recommend this race.