The Curse of the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) Marathon

Those who know my running history have heard me talk about “the curse” of the KDF marathon.

The History

Despite finishing 9 marathons total, I’ve never finished a marathon in my home town.

My history:

  • 2009 DNS – Signed up for the KDF marathon in January. Got injured in late January and ran/walked about 1/10th as much in February and March as I did in January.  Never started the race.
  • 2010 DNF– My kids got a stomach virus the week before marathon week. I avoided the nastiness, but my stomach didn’t feel right the day or two before the marathon. During the marathon, I sat down on the side of the course at mile 11 with intestinal problems. After fighting to get over the last hill in Cherokee Park at mile 16, without the guts to do so, I saw a friend spectating around mile 17 and used his phone to call for pickup.
  • 2011 DNR– I didn’t sign up, but I helped another runner train for his first marathon. The week before the marathon, we ran 20 miles at a pace similar to my two fastest marathons. It was like KDF was taunting me.
  • 2012 – Signed up. My Garmin flew apart two weeks ago in Iroquois Park, at mile 7 of an intended 20 miler. Last Saturday, I stubbed my toe and it turned black and blue (no breakage upon X-ray, but still…)



No, I don’t really believe in the curse. I’ve taken the race for granted. I don’t take care of things like I would if I were more heavily invested in another race:

  • I know too many people near the course who I can hang out with if I quit.
  • I push things too hard, because all I have to risk is the registration fee…  not vacation time, travel fare, reservations.
  • *or* I don’t take training seriously because I haven’t spent $100s or $1000s.
  • The race will always be there next year.
  • There is no difficulty getting registered for the race.

The problem is, none of these factors have changed, and now I’m obsessing over a toe. Obviously, the only remedy for this “curse” is finishing.

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