What a lovely time of year. Last week in Lexington, they held the Rolex Three Day Event for hunter/jumpers, always a grand spectacle. The Kentucky Derby Festival is in full swing, and last Saturday they held the Mini-Marathon, in which we've run several times.
Of course, then it wasn't much of a race, more of a moveable feast, runners on parade, a social occasion. They gave away class race shirts, with Pegasus featured on the front and with no advertising. We jogged through Iroquois Park, then down Southern Parkway past Churchill Downs and the race finished in downtown Louisville. Those were the days.
Since then, they've changed the course, and now the race draws 12,000 people and brings $5 million dollars to the area, or so they say. We still treasure our shirts from the old days.
The Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, day after tomorrow. The field looks wide open with many solid contenders, including last year's two-year-old champ, Hansen, a handsome almost-white colt.
Out in Spokane, Washington, on May 6th, they run the Lilac Bloomsday race, which draws over 50,000 entrants. The race was founded by author Don Kardong with James Joyce's Ulysses in mind, but somehow the race was moved up some forty days from June 16th. Some of the Bloomsday runners dress in Joycean attire, or so I hear.
Both the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon and the Bloomsday event sponsor posters as well as shirts, and some of them are quite good. In Dublin, they honor Bloomsday with a 5K race on the beach, though I doubt that it draws such a crowd. A fictional race or parade of this sort is described in Adrian McKinty's thriller, The Bloomsday Dead, which I'll review in my next post.