Lexington to Host National Half-Marathon Race
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Next spring the Horse Capital of the World will be a host city for a major running event. The Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, which attracts more than a half-million participants in more than 30 locations around the world, will hold a half-marathon event March 30th at Keeneland Race Course.
Peter Englehart of Competitor Group Inc., which created the series back in 1998, says they’ve long wanted to bring a Rock ‘n Roll race to horse country.
“The runners who will come here next year are a little different from the runners you have previously experienced. If the model holds true, and we have no reason to doubt that it won’t, 70 percent of the runners will come from out of market.”
Bill Thomason, president-elect of the Keeneland Association, says he’s thrilled that Lexington will be a host site.
"We think that there’s going be a lot of people in the running world who are going to look and want to come here and we like that. We like to entertain. We are very proud of our horse business. We’re very proud of showing it off and we are also very, very proud of our community.”
The Rock ‘n Roll Lexington event replaces the Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon which had been held at Keeneland on the same weekend.
Race Director Eric Patrick Marrs says his group has partnered with CGI to take the running event to the next level.
“We are talking about a major influx of new money into our city and state. From all over the country, all over the world, tourists, real money, a great branding experience for Lexington.”
Englehart says a Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon event recently held in Providence, Rhode Island, generated about $7 million dollars of local economic impact.
Rock ‘n Roll Races feature fitness expos, live music along every mile of the course, and a rock concert at the finish line.
7,500 runners are expected to participate at the Keeneland event.