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Unique runners made WKYB-FM Bourbon Chase coverage a lot of fun Friday

Unicorns magically appeared in the WKYB-FM studio Friday night. (Jayme Phillips Photo)


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when WKYB-FM decided to do a five-hour Bourbon Chase live show Friday night.

I had participated in the 200-mile Bourbon Chase across Kentucky two years ago. It was fun, but demanding not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Running three times — unless you are on an elite team of just six runners and then you run six times — in a 35-hour period takes a toll on anyone.

Still, you have some unique time during Bourbon Chase and the people you meet during the event are mainly fun-loving.

Our show was the same way. Morning host Jayme Phillips put the show together and I just got to find runners and others to interview — and that was easy to do.

The first team I randomly picked to talk to had a runner, Jackie McCarthy, from Boston. She was an experienced runner who joined a team of Bourbon Chase veterans who needed a 12th runner. She was delightful to talk to and very complimentary about Kentucky and the Chase.

Runner Jackie Watson made my night when she told me she was a “Vaught’s Views fan.” (Jayme Phillips Photo)

Her LBX team included Stephanie and Chris Johnson, Rob Delaney, and Jackie and Rob Watson. Got to admit it made my day when Jackie Watson told me she was a “Vaught’s Views fan” and we got to trade a few UK stories before she had to head out.

Early in the afternoon I ran into a team of runners at Wendy’s getting food. I asked them to stop by and Alyssa Roberts did. I learned she was from Pittsburgh originally and now lived in Cleveland after also living in Mississippi and Louisiana. She was charming and made it clear that any race including bourbon was good for her.

We eventually also talked to runners from England, Canada, Bermuda, Minnesota, Oregon, California, Washington, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, New York and Indiana. There might have been more I could not remember. Of course, we also talked to a ton of Kentucky runners and it was amazing how many have participated in the Bourbon Chase year after year.

Our England runner was on a team raising money for charity and about half the runners were dressed like unicorns. They not only put a unicorn head on Jayme, but they let me put on one of the unicorn costumes, too.

Then there was the “medical” team that used red duct tape to put the emergency/ambulance sign on their van. They were spectacular to talk to and so much fun.

The DontPullAHammy runners who were as much fun on air as they were two years ago when I ran the Bourbon Chase and first met them. They are Lexington-area runners and play musical instruments, hand out trophies and man a hydration station during the run

My buddy, Savanah Stevens, the currently International Junior Miss Miss Kentucky, did a few interviews for us and those went really well. She even helped me stop the very first runner as he came into Danville for the main exchange and get him on air for a few minutes.

Centre College juniors Bretagne Guempel and Kendall Yount stopped by after watching the Bourbon Chase madness for the first time. Guempel had an internship with the U.S. State Department in Croatia last summer while Young is a Taekwondo world champion and former junior Olympic champion. Both admitted while watching the Bourbon Chase was fun, they had no desire to run.

Yount’s personal trainer is Ann Mosley, who is part of one the few ultra teams of just six runners compared to 12 for most 12. The Bad Moms For Bourbon also included Laurie Belcher, Dee Minor, Judy Jenkins, Lisa Arnold and Mattie Zimmerman. Arnold was on the course but the other five joined us to explain how going non-stop for 35 hours can be fun — but stressful.

Many of my former Bourbon Chase teammates stopped by starting with Derik Hunt, who ran an 8:28 mile pace, and then Troy Vonn, Kim Hamilton and Michelle Gilbert as they waited for their final runner to make it to Danville. They “begged” me to run again, but Jayme and WKYB have me locked into a long-term contract.

I actually talked to so many people that I lost track — and unlike when I am writing, I couldn’t keep notes because I was too busy taking pictures, talking and getting texts — of exactly everyone that we interviewed or all the folks who stopped by to let us know they were listening.

Thanks to all of you and hopefully your night and the rest of today goes well because there’s nothing quite like Bourbon Chase.

And a huge thanks to the Wilderness Road Amateur Radio Club for relaying information when runners were about a mile out of town to either Ray Whitehouse or George Coomer in studio with us for Jayme to announce and to the crew who posted the info on the screen near the exchange point that made it much, much easier for teams to know when their runner was coming into town.

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