The Kentucky Derby Festival Is Returning To In-person Events, And The Marathon Is Up First

Oct 28, 2021 at 11:04 am
The 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival.
The 2017 Kentucky Derby Festival. Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Derby Festival

The Kentucky Derby Festival is ready to get back to normal. 

“The Derby Festival is planning for a return to live and in-person events in 2022,” said Matt Gibson, KDF President and CEO in a statement. 

And first “out of the gate,” as he said, is the Festival’s half-marathon and marathon. 

On Thursday morning, the KDF announced that the races would be returning to its traditional date, the Saturday before the Derby. In 2022, that will be on April 30.

There are still details to be worked out, including the exact course route. The miniMarathon course will be similar to what was planned for 2020 and will include a lap within Churchill Downs. The marathon course is supposed to combine the 2020 and 2021 courses, including Churchill Downs, the Big Four Waking Bridge and the Ohio River Greenway.

Other organizations are already announcing their Kentucky Derby plans. Paristown plans to have a Derby Eve bash, featuring country music artist Jake Owen.

In 2020, many Kentucky Derby Festival events were canceled due to the coronavirus. And last year, those events were held virtually or socially distanced, including the foot races. The in-person half marathon was held over four days and the marathon featured staggered start times. Or, participants could opt to run virtually.

Organizers say that more details of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s full 2022 schedule will be released in the coming weeks or months. (Let’s be honest; We’re all waiting to see what’s happening with Thunder this year.)

But, the KDF shouldn’t be emerging from the pandemic and the events of 2021 totally unchanged. Earlier this year, the festival solicited ideas from the public on how to make its events more equitable for Louisvillians. We hope to see those changes also announced soon.

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