Commonwealth Journal

November 14, 2013

Local runners experience Bourbon Chase

Teams for both men and women participate in 200-mile Bluegrass road race

by Steve Cornelius
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

In one of the most grueling and demanding long distance road races in the southeastern part of the United States, two teams of local long distance runners (one male team and one female team) represented the area well in one of the unique running event.
The Bourbon Chase celebrates the best of Kentucky. It is a 200-mile journey across the Bluegrass State – through our historic bourbon distilleries, across our majestic horse country, and into our enchanting small towns. The race begins at the Jim Distillery’s American Outpost in Clermont, Ky., and ends in downtown Lexington.
The Bourbon Chase is a distance relay race that tours 11 cities in the Central Kentucky area. Each team consists of 12 team members, with each member of the team running three separate legs of 5.5-mile runs (there is one leg than is 3.1 miles and one that 9 miles long). The winning team completed the 200-mile relay race in just over 19 hours, while the majority of the teams times ranged form 24 hours to 36 hours. Each team was split into two groups, which were both supported by a team vehicle, drivers and other team support members.
This year’s Bourbon Chase drew an amazing 315 teams, which equates to nearly 4,000 competitors. However, the runners’ experiences ranged from running in a congested pack to running a Kentucky rural road with not a single other runner in sight.
“The Bourbon Chase is one of the most unique road race I have ever experienced”, stated Bourbon Chase participant Joe Weigel. “My first leg was at 8 p.m., my second leg was at 4 a.m. and my final leg was at 12 noon.”
“It was a strange feeling running in the middle of the night on a deserted rural road,” Weigel explained. “It was sort of spooky, but it was sort of a spiritual experience as well.”
The local men’s team was the Southern Express team, with team members of  Kevin McKinney, Harry Kennedy, Joe Weigel, George Corder, Gerald Brinson, Mark Hamm, David Stewart, Dave Smith, Steve Jones, Louie Childers, Pat Jenkins, and George Gill. The Southern Express team was  supported by Jack Evans and Rick Rice.
The Southern Express team placed 23rd overall, out of a 315-team field, and finished the 200-mile course in 25 hours and 22 minutes. Southern Express placed third in the Masters Male division.
The local women’s team was named the Sole Sisters, with team members of Lisa Stolz, Donna Eastham, Carrie Altmaier, Jessica Gover, Sue Petrosky, Lori Hall, Trish Wiles, Cindy Kerr, Gwen West, Maria Kerr, Emily Valentine and Jessica Crockett. Sole Sisters support team members were Penny Rutherford, Shelly Jenkins, Anna Altmaier and Leslie Leidelmeijer.
The Sole Sisters team placed 7th in the Open Female division, and finished the 200-mile course in 31 hours and 58 minutes.
Former Western Kentucky University standout runners Patrick Jenkins and Jeremy Stites ran on the Old Timers team, which finished third overall and completed the 200-mile course in 20 hours and 30 minutes.
Jonathan Arnett of Southern Express and Alton Blakley Ford sponsored the local team.
Pat Jenkins and Carrie Altmaier were the captains of their respectives teams, and were responsible for the organization of their crew to compete in the event. Team members, collectively, stressed the the great importance of their team captains' work in making the event possible for the local runners.