Quintessential Kentucky: the Bourbon Chase

/ Sword Performance

Michael Federspiel is a former college athlete now endurance runner. Last weekend, he participated in the Bourbon Chase, a unique Kentucky endurance running event. We asked him about his experience.

How would you describe the Bourbon Chase? What’s the format, how did it start?
The Bourbon Chase was an incredible experience. It is a 203 mile relay race through the Bourbon Trail. You are on a team of 12, and the course is divided into 36 legs that range in mile distance. Each member on the team runs 3 legs of the race. The race begins at Jim Beam stillhouse and finishes at Triangle Park in downtown Lexington. You are given a start time based off of your team’s mile pace and a team member is running at all times of the day until completion.

What made you decide to try this event out?
I decided to run the Bourbon Chase after hearing all of the positive feedback from runners who have run the race before.

What drew you to endurance running now?
After playing Division 1 college football, I always viewed running as a punishment and swore I would never run again. But after being out of competition for a year, I missed training for something. My sister had just delivered her first baby and asked me if I would run the Derby Half Marathon with her to help her get back in shape. I agreed to her challenge and began training for the marathon. I grew to enjoy running and LOVED the atmosphere of the race. Ever since her challenge I have been hooked on endurance running.  

How did the event go? What were some high points? Low points?
It’s exhausting. Running on 2 hours of sleep for close to 30 hours is tough, but that’s when you’re preparation, adrenaline, and hydration helps.

But I ran faster than I ever expected. There were some incredible runners on the road, and I tried to keep up. On one leg I shaved off 1:30 per mile. Definitely a PR for me.

Did Sword help? How did it help?
We had a cooler in the van, and it was the go to drink before and after each leg. It quenched the thirst, never made me feel too full of water. Typically with too much water you get the full stomach feeling. I never felt thirsty, but kept drinking to hydrated and keep my body fueled.

Sword also played a HUGE role in my recovery! I was expecting to be really sore from running over 21 miles in 24 hours. But, I woke up the day after the race and was hardly sore and was able to play in a basketball game that evening.

Would you try Sword again?
Hell yeah!

Will you be returning to the Bourbon Chase next year?
Yes, absolutely! I recommend it to all runners!


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