A couple of weeks ago Louisville played host to one of the newest “fun run 5ks” that seem to be gaining in popularity lately. Using our love of wine, beer, chocolate, cinnamon buns, or any other number of typically non-running related hooks these events tend to bring the more casual “racers” out to stroll the course in their own time, fashion (some of the costumes are awesome and crazy), and often times drinking along the way. So when a friend offered me her bib for The Ultimate Wine Run I expected a pretty casual fun run. But for me it was too casual and combined with some very poor execution by the event organizers would have been pretty bad had it not been for the wonderful ladies I was there with.
Packet Pickup/ Expo: The packet pick up for the race was held at Academy Sports. They only had a couple of people working the tables and I got there pretty close to the start of the first day of packet pickup – and there was a line. Part of the downfall here was that they only had one person pulling the bibs and they hadn’t pre-made and of the swag bags. So each one had to be pulled and made right there. I can only imagine how long the line got as the after 5p crowd showed up.
In addition to the packet pickup they did have a table set up for the presenting winery, Old 502 Winery, with race merchandise, winery merchandise, and a place to purchase pre-paid parking which was $10 ahead of time or $15 at the venue. Note – the event was held at Waterfront Park, a public park. There was plenty of available (free) parking so I didn’t really see the need or value in the paid parking for participants.
Ultimate Wine Run T-Shirt
Ultimate Wine Run Glass (both 1k & 5k)
Finish Line Wine (5k only)
4 Wine Tasting Stations (1k only)
V.I.P (Upgraded) Ultimate Wine Run T-Shirt
V.I.P Ultimate Wine Run Tumbler- With Free 5oz Pour Of Wine
V.I.P Ultimate Wine Run Drawstring Bag
Aid Stations: There was one aid station at about the halfway mark giving out bottles of water. It was staffed with just a couple of people and worked out well for me as I was one of the few runners for the race.
Scenery & Course: The course itself was very narrow and actually ended up only being 2.58 miles instead of 3.1… If you look at the map of the course above versus what we actually ran you can see where the error lies. When they marked the course they mis-marked the halfway turn around so instead of running the square along the river we ended up running the sidewalk under the highway, we also mismarked the route along the river and ended up cutting back into oncoming racers and actually had to cross through the walkers as the course intersected and then we had to weave through them in the opposite direction as we were all on the same sidewalk.We also started and finished in an entirely different spot than indicated on the map above.
The route execution could and should have been given more care. The planning seems to have been fine but follow through was seriously lacking. I just have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t really a race, it’s a fun run, but even so better course execution makes the experience better for both those who choose to run or those who don’t! At the very least properly mark your course!.
At least it was pretty.
Elevation: This is a mostly flat route with only a 29ft change in elevation from it’s lowest to highest point.
Parking/Access: There was plenty of parking within a comfortable walking distance that was free. However, race organizers did offer pre-paid or day of paid parking within a few hundred meters of the start. ($10/$15)
|Dates||5K||1K||Both 5K & 1K|
So here’s the thing. I had a good time at this event because I was there with great friends and there was wine. But I’m not sure that I would spend the kind of money some people paid ($75 day of) to do this “race.” The good time was made by the people I was there with and not the race itself but for something like this and at this price I would expect the event to be just as fun as the company.
In the moment I wasn’t disappointed with The Ultimate Wine Run but as I started to write the review and really think about the race I was less and less satisfied with the value versus the expectations. I don’t think that this is a race that I would recommend based on all the cons I came up with as i planned out this post and in doing research it seems like the organizers have been plagued by similar issues in a lot of the other cities they’ve been in.