By LARRY VAUGHT
Almost 4,600 runners from all 50 states were registered to participate in Run The Bluegrass March 28th at Keeneland that offer a 13.1-mile half marathon, 7-mile run and 3.65 mile “yearling” run. It’s a terrific event — I’ve done the 7-miler once and volunteered the previous two years because the course got too challenging for me — but like many other events has been cancelled by the COVID-19.
Race director Eric Marr had to announce Thursday that “race planning” had been suspended since Keeneland had suspended outside events at least through April 4th.
“Following the Boston Marathon’s lead, the leader in our sport, as they aim to reschedule for a later date, we are in early discussions with Keeneland and the City of Lexington about a possible reschedule date for this summer,” Marr posted. “I would ask you to give us at least a week or two to coordinate with all of the many entities involved with that possibility. It traditionally requires 13-14 months of planning to host RunTheBluegrass, major changes like this don’t happen overnight.
“As you know, the news is unfolding around us at record speed, we are watching it like hawks alongside you. In addition to a possible rescheduling, we will offer a virtual version of Year X, at no cost to you, as I know many of you can’t reschedule things in the blink of an eye, either, any more than we can.”
He said while runners are generally healthy, he didn’t want to take any chances on spreading COVID-19 and not cause added stress for anyone.
Now here is the amazing part of what Marr has decided to do.
“For the last seven days I have been formulating another plan. Have you ever heard of The Peach Truck, based out of Nashville (but really out of Georgia)? Every summer, The Peach Truck tours much of America and brings fresh Georgia peaches right to you, in your neighborhood. The best peaches in the world,” Marr said in his message to runners. “I want to bring RunTheBluegrass to you, in your neighborhood or city, wherever you are, this summer, if we aren’t able to postpone — or if you can’t join us at that possibly rescheduled date.
“We will come to your front door, we will run with you in your neighborhood, we will bring your RTBX Anniversary Swag and Official Merchandise with us and personally deliver it to you — and if you have time, I’d like to go out with you to your favorite local lunch, dinner, breakfast, coffee or beer/bourbon spot in your neck of the woods!”
All I know is that if Eric Marr comes to Danville, I want to know so I can have lunch/dinner with him and some other runners.
He admits he’ll need a lot of time to plan visits to 50 states — assuming the virus infection rate “flattens out” in the coming weeks and months. However, he’s hoping to do it this summer.
Run The Bluegrass volunteer coordinator Melinda Milburn Jamison, who is also the executive director of CASA of Lexington, is hoping to “coordinate with CASA programs around the country” to help Marr with his lofty ambition.
With all the uncertainty we are facing now, I just thought this “feel-good” story of one man’s desire to turn a negative into a positive might bring a smile to your face or a few moments of knowing there is still good in our world.