Fayette County

Half marathon will close roads Sunday morning

A new event on the local run/walk calendar Sunday is expected to draw 2,500 participants, and several roads in the Newtown and Iron Works pikes area will be temporarily closed because of it.

The Lexington Half-Marathon, which will start and finish at Fasig-Tipton on Newtown Pike, is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. In addition to the 13-plus-mile featured race, a 5,000-meter event will begin at 8:15 a.m., and a 1-mile "fun run" will start at 9:45 a.m.

Entrants and spectators are advised to be at Fasig-Tipton by 7:15 a.m., as Newtown Pike then will be closed. For those needing to leave, only a back exit will be available.

In addition to Newtown Pike, the portion of Iron Works Pike between Newtown and the Kentucky Horse Park will close until about noon.

The half-marathon course will follow Newtown to Iron Works, wind through the Horse Park and return via Iron Works and Newtown.

Race director Dean Reinke, who ran for Miami (Ohio) and Indiana as a collegian, said entries have been received from 32 states and Austria, France and Japan.

"We had to cap (entries), so we'll be about 2,500 here," he said. "We probably could have had 3,500 the first year."

The cap was necessary because of limited access and parking. Reinke said he hopes to avoid a cap next year.

"I think we have the ability to eventually be one of the biggest events in the Midwest. ... There could be 5,000 to 10,000 runners within three or four years.

"Fasig-Tipton's a wonderful venue but, obviously, you can only park so many cars in there. So we want to make sure that we don't have a (crowd) problem."

The featured race is part of a USRA Half Marathon Series that includes 17 small- to mid-size cities across the country.

Live Bluegrass music will be featured near the start-finish area.

Reinke Sports Group has partnered with the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as the Kentucky Sports Authority, to undertake what is planned to be an annual event. Keys in selecting a date, Reinke said, were avoiding conflicts with major events that impact hotel space, such as Keeneland meets and the Sweet Sixteen; summer heat; and winter hazards.

With Kentucky's largest half-marathon, the 16,000-strong Derby Festival Mini, a month later, Reinke sees Lexington as "a great opportunity to tune up" for that event.