50 Years Later: Deloitte hosts reunion for first Mini-Marathon Participants
Saturday will be the 50th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon and the 22nd Marathon.
To celebrate, Deloitte hosted the 50th Mini-Marathon Reunion to celebrate the participants in the first race in 1974.
When it comes to that first Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon race 50 years ago, most of the 301 participants had no clue what to expect.
They knew it would be hot and they knew they wanted to just finish, but what they didn’t know was the precedent they’d set for years to come.
It’s been half a century since those first 300 participants ran the inaugural race.
With some folks like 87 year-old Roz Schneider, still remembering how it made them feel.
“I loved the crowd along the way still cheering you on so you couldn’t stop, even if you wanted to,” Schneider said.
The race has grown exponentially in size, going from a couple hundred to close to twelve thousand participants.
“I’ve been a life-long runner and I think back in the 70’s we were kind of viewed as a little bit odd if you were out running and even some people might have gave you a hard time about it,” Deloitte Kentucky Principal Kevin Pollari said. “And now, it of course seems like something everybody seems to do and the participation is awesome.”
The increase is something life-long runners said is hard to believe considering how runners were looked at in the 70′s.
“That speaks volumes that runners like this race and Louisville has done an excellent job attracting people,” 1974′s Mini-Marathon winner Johnny Lloyd said. “They selected a good time of the year because it’s Derby here and it’s all good. It’s all good stuff.”
Lloyd grew up in Louisville and won the first Mini back in 1974 with a time of 68 minutes. He now lives in Illinois but says it means the world for him to come back.
“To be honored like this and recognized, this is an honor just being here,” said Lloyd.
This year’s race even has repeat runners.
Both Bill Wells and Kirk Shaffer ran in 1974 and will be running again Saturday.
They said it’s an environment for them that doesn’t get old.
“I just love the atmosphere of the big time races and this is turning into a big time race,” Wells shared.
The two have ran for almost 300 half and full marathons combined and they hope to continue their feats at the next milestone in 2048.
“I’m just glad we’re able to be a part of it, if anything and hopefully maybe, we can be at the 75th one,” Shaffer said.
The race will start at Main and Brooks tomorrow Saturday morning at 7 a.m. with both races finishing at Lynn Family Stadium.