Now that we're bearing down on another Derby Festival Marathon and Minimarathon, it's time to be honest. Do you like the course changes they instituted last year? I'm stuck in the middle on this one, which is weird, because I usually have a strong opinion one way or another.
Let's recap. The race now starts and finishes at the same point. That's long overdue. Going down there extra early and getting in a long line and sitting next to someone who didn't shower that morning is not my idea of a good time. The race has to begin and end at the same point if it wants to become a really big time event.
The first part of the race now takes you through the west end in some of the least scenic neighborhoods Louisville has to offer. But at least it's flat. The charm of Southern Parkway and Iroquois are now removed from the Mini. They're still in play in the marathon (one big reason I opted to run the full marathon this year). The only really aesthetically awesome part of the Mini now is the wind through Old Louisville. The Churchill infield is still in play but it's always kind of weird to me to run through the part of the Downs that will be carpeted in party vomit in a week.
I heard nothing but complaining during and after the race last year from my friends on the course changes. Then I read a Courier article that reported rave reviews on the changes. So I'm confused. I like the fact that it's flatter, and starts and stops at the same place, but there's something about the absence of the Southern Parkway/Iroquois Park element that I think causes the race to lose some juice.
Maybe the problem is that I'm turning 50 next month, and I'm becoming one of those old people who don't like change. This will be my 24th straight year doing either the Mini or the marathon. I think I should be more worried about the fact that the 3 miles of hills in Iroquois Park come exactly at the midpoint of the 26.2 miles I'll be running. Can't wait to see how that plays on my hamstrings.
I'm curious about what you think. Is the course change good or bad?