The Kentucky Derby Festival is a whirlwind of events all leading up to the big race. But the actual running of the Kentucky Derby isn’t the only race that gets people excited.

Kentucky’s largest annual road race – consisting of the Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon – draws over 12,000 participants every year.

Since 2012, Humana has partnered on the races, but this year they will be the title sponsor.

Dr. Val Slayton, Humana Regional Vice President of Health Services said that the sponsorship is a natural outgrowth of Humana’s desire to be a health partner for the Louisville community. “We want to help residents here achieve their best health,” he said.

Dr. Slayton said Humana has been inspired by the stories from participants. “It’s because of them that we’re stepping up as title sponsor of the event.”

Shorter distances

Would you love to take part in the foot races but you’re not quite up to the 13.1 or 26.2 mile lengths? Organize a team and run the Relay Division, which offers shorter distances for those who don’t want to run the half or full marathon.

The Relay includes five legs along the Marathon route: two 5Ks, two 10Ks and one 12.5K. Relay teams can be made up of three to five participants.

“We know that not everybody is ready to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles, so we offer the Relay as an excellent way for anyone to participate,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO.

Team spirit

The Relay option offers an opportunity for employee team-building as well as a fun experience for a group of friends. Chris Powell, a Relay Ambassador, is bringing a group of friends to participate this year.

“The Relay began as a way for businesses to do team-building but it is now transitioning to something a few friends can do together to split up the race,” Powell said.

At each Relay point, a baton is passed to the next runner. New this year is the opportunity for the entire relay team to run across the finish line together. There will also be an exclusive hospitality area just for relay participants at Runner’s Reunite area.

Want to participate?

Runners that register for Relay, and use the code RELAYFUN19, (expires 3/14/19), will receive a special discount on their registration, saving $25. You can register online at

This year’s race is set for Saturday, April 27, 2019 and will mark the 46th year for the miniMarathon and the 18th year for the marathon. Both races start simultaneously at 7:30 am on Main Street near Slugger Field and will finish at the intersection of Preston and Witherspoon streets.

Grab some friends or co-workers and join the fun!