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Rodes City Run 10K & Louisville Triple Crown of Running History
The Rodes City Run 10K is one of the oldest and longest-running road races in the region. Its rich history began in 1981 with about 2,000 runners, peaked in 2011 with nearly 9,500 registrants, and continues today with an average yearly registration of 5,000 runners, joggers and walkers.
- Running became very popular in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and The Third Century— a committee of young professionals supporting Louisville Central Area, the downtown chamber of commerce – came to Rodes with a proposition. Rodes’ Wally Deener (Clothing Buyer) and (the late) Bob O’Leary (Operations Manager) met with attorneys Glenn Price and Michael Curran (of Third Century) to co-sponsor a road race in downtown Louisville. When the group presented the idea to (the late) Lawrence Smith, Sr. (Rodes CEO), he loved the idea so much he decided to sponsor the race entirely. And so the Rodes City Run was born!
- Organizers met with (the late) Gil Clark, head of the Metro Parks Track Club, to come up with a course and to time the event. The inaugural race date was set for Saturday, March 14th, and the event attracted nearly 2,000 participants.
- The initial course started on Sixth & Main streets heading north, turned right onto River Road, right onto Edith Rd., right onto Mellwood Ave., right on Story St., right onto Main St. , right onto First St., left onto Washington St., left onto Third St. right back onto Main Street finishing in front of what is now the Kentucky Arts Center.
- The event also featured a 1-mile ‘Fun Run’ for kids. The first 100 kids were awarded free passes to the premier of Chariots of Fire movie.
- Dave Murphy won the men’s division with a time of 29:11. This course record would hold for 4 years. Christine Rose won the women’s division in 38:54
- On March 13, 1982, the first anniversary of the race, the course was simplified to go from Story Ave. straight down to Main St. and finished in at The Belvedere. The honorary race chairman was then Mayor Harvey Sloane.
- Duane Gaston won the men’s division and Christine Rose returned to win her 2nd consecutive RCR.
- In year three we decided to change the course so that it would start in front of the downtown Rodes store and include the new Louisville Galleria for registration. The race began at Fourth and Muhammad Ali Blvd. in front of the former Rodes’ store in the Starks Building. The course headed west and turned immediately north on Eighth Street. With the field size swelling to over 3,000 the wide street at the start did not allow ample time to “thin the herd” and so the turn onto Eighth Street was rough to say the least.
This revised course turned off of Eighth St. onto River Road to Clay, Elm, Adams, Spring, Lexington, Baxter, Main and finished at Fourth St.
- Martin Brewer won the RCR men’s title and Christine Rose won the overall female division forthe third consecutive year (1981-1983).
- Gil Clark, Bob O’Leary and Wally Deener discussed combining 3 different races of varying distances to form a “Triple Crown” of road racing. Following many meetings with The Kentucky Derby Festival’s CEO Dan Mangeot and Liberty National Bank, the Louisville Triple Crown of Running was born! Held in the spring of 1984, the inaugural races included the Rodes City Run 10K, The Liberty Run For The Arts 15K and the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon.
- The race took place on Rodes' 70th anniversary (St. Patricks Day), March 17th. The awards ceremony was moved to the newly completed Starks Building Court outside the Rodes store.
- Louisa Hamm became the first person (and female) to win all 3 races and claim the coveted Triple Crown title. Martin Brewer set the first male division record for the course at 28:59. Martin’s record would hold, even with adding the hills around Cave Hill Cemetery with the revised 1997 course, until broken in 2012 by Pius Nyantika with a time of 28:58.
- Due to the growth of the race, the course was modified once again to accommodate the much- larger field of nearly 5,000. The course was moved to the much wider Broadway, beginning at 4th St. in front of the Brown Hotel. The new route would head west on Broadway, right onto Sixth St, right onto River Road, to Clay, Elm, Adam, Spring, Payne, Lexington, Baxter, Main to finish on Main Street in front of the Kentucky Arts Center.
- Dave Long won the men’s division and Lori Veal won the women’s
- In a field of over 4,000, John Wellerding won the Rodes City Run and was also the first male to win the Triple Crown. Ruth Ozman took the women’s division.
- Louisville’s “Mayor For Life” Jerry Abramson became the new Honorary Race Chairman, fired the start canon and participated in many of the Rodes City Runs..
- On March 14th John Wellerding won his 2nd consecutive Rodes City Run title while Diane Brewer took the women’s.
- The course continued the same with the exception of extending the first right turn from Sixth down to Seventh Street and finishing at Second & Main Streets. This popular course remained until the flood of 1997.
John Wellerding won his 3rd consecutive race and Diane Brewer won her 2nd consecutive Rodes City Run title with a new course record of 33:45.
- Camille Forrester (Estes) won the Rodes City Run’s overall female division. Camille now resides in Indianapolis, IN with her husband (Jim) and still host running events here in Louisville under River City Races. Richard Ede won the men’s division and Greg McMahon won in the first ever RCR wheelchair category.
- The 10th Rodes City Run was held on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) for only the 2nd time. Local running store owner, Swag Hartel, won the men’s division in a field of over 4,000. Judy Bogenschutz took the women’s and Junior Rice won the wheelchair division in 27:48.
- With the merger of Liberty National Bank with Bank One of Kentucky, Liberty withdrew its sponsorship of the Run For The Arts and the 15K was no more. Gil Clark was able to acquire PepsiCo to sponsor the Pepsi Challenge and it became the 2nd leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.
- Stan Clark won both the RCR and the Triple Crown series, while Pamela Runquist won the ladies and Junior Rice took the wheeler division.
- The RCR 10K field is now over 3,500 participants. Simon Corcoran wins the men’s division, Valeri Vaughn sweeps the women’s division and Junior Rice wins his 3rd consecutive RCR (1990-1992) in the wheelchair category.
- Camille Forrester (Estes) won the RCR and the entire Triple Crown series! John Wellerding won his 4th Rodes City Run.
- Stan Clark takes the men’s title, Valeri McGovern takes the women’s division and Junior Rice wins the Triple Crown in the wheeler division.
- Bruce Lundsford’s Vencor comes aboard to sponsor the second leg in the race series with the Vencor Stakes 15K race.
- The winners for the 15th running of the RCR are Rob Shoaf (men’s), Karlene Hearld (women’s) and Junior Rice (WC) with his 5th RCR win.
- Mary Anne (Tonini) Lyons sweeps the Triple Crown women’s division, Tim Mylin wins the men’s and Junior Rice wins his 6th RCR 10K in the wheeler division.
- The weekend of February 28 - March 2, 1997, brought the heaviest rainstorms on record to the Louisville area. By March 17th, the Ohio River crested at 16 feet above flood level. The Rodes City Run race course had to be changed by Metro Parks at the last moment due to the flooding of River Road, which was the main part of the route.
- The new course would still begin on Broadway, but would head east to Cherokee Rd, left on Grinstead, left on Etley Ave., left on Lexington Rd., right on Baxter onto E. Chestnut, left on Main St. finishing west of Brook Street.
- Kentucky Derby Festival’s CEO Dan Mangeot died. Click Here to view a tribute by Sen. Wendell Ford.
- Jimmy Herald wins the men’s division and Mary Anne Lyons wins her 2nd consecutive RCR and overall Triple Crown title.
- Jimmy Herald wins his 2nd consecutive RCR in men’s division and Mary Anne (Tonini) Lyons wins her 3rd consecutive RCR and overall Triple Crown title.
- Vencor, which sponsored the 2nd Triple Crown race, the Vencor Stakes 15K, also became the presenting sponsor of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running series.
- Gilbert L “Gil” Clark, the “father of road racing in Louisville”, would succumb to liver cancer on July 22, 1999 at the age of 78. Senator Mitch McConnell issued a tribute to Gil as part of the Congressional record on April 26th, prior to Gil’s death. The record also includes a copy of a Louisville Courier-Journal article from Sunday, April 25, 1999 recognizing Gil Clark's accomplishments.
Click Here to view the tribute!
- Jim Estes wins the men’s division of both the RCR and the overall Triple Crown series. Jim is married to Camille Forrester-Estes, who won the Triple Crown series earlier in 1993.
- On March 25th the 20th RCR had nearly 5,500 registrants with over 5,000 completing the race. Keil Kaiser won the men’s division and Mary Anne Lyons (Tonini) would win her 4th RCR title.
- GTE Wireless and Nokia become the presenting sponsors of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.
- Vencor files for chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 1999, so the 2nd jewel in the Triple Crown becomes the Gil Clark Memorial 15K in 2000.
- Jimmy Hearld wins his 3rd RCR and both Christine Wells (women’s div.) and Chad Johnston (wheeler div.) win the RCR and the Triple Crown series.
- Papa John’s sponsors the Papa John’s 10 Miler and replaces the Gil Clark Memorial 15K as the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown.
- Cingular Wireless becomes the presenting sponsors of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.
- The Triple Crown has 3 title holders: James Mutuse wins the men’s’ division; Christina Wells (women’s div.) and Chad Johnston (wheeler div.) sweep the Triple Crown for the 2nd straight year.
- The Triple Crown series initiates the ChampionChip Timing System, using passive RFID transponders ‘chips’ tied onto the shoe laces.
- Brooks becomes the official shoe sponsor of the Rodes City Run.
The Triple Crown has 3 consecutive title holders: James Mutuse wins the men’s’ division for the second straight year; Christina Wells (women’s div.) and Chad Johnston (wheeler div.) win the Triple Crown for the 3rd straight year.
- Nic Crider wins the RCR 10K with a field of nearly 6,000. Susie Bush sweeps the Triple Crown and Chad Johnston wins his 4th consecutive RCR in the wheeler division.
- The course that changed for the 1997 flood had become a favorite due to the flat, fast and scenic nature, with a few challenging hills along Grinstead and Lexington Roads. Since the Waterfront Development had become popular, race organizers decided to change the course slightly to make the finish more scenic and to add Kid’s Fun Runs at Waterfront Park. The course would still begin at Fourth & Broadway and continue down Main St., right on Preston St., left onto Witherspoon finishing at Floyd St.
- In an effort to attract more participants, the Triple Crown race committee votes to bring Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on board to become the first leg of the “new” Triple Crown series with the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic. This would shake up the series by having a 5K, 10K and 10-Miler, which would be training ground leading up to the KDF miniMarathon
- The Papa John’s Ten Miler is selected by the USATF to host the USA Men’s Championship.
- Novo Nordisk, an international pharmaceutical company specializing in diabetes care and prevention, signs on as the presenting sponsor of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running series.
- Ray Parrella, then age 70, won the 70-and-over age group in 39:42, which earned him Running Times’ 2005 Masters of the Year, should have been an USATF record in the 70+ category since the current US record is 40:45 (2012). We petitioned the USATF to acknowledge Ray’s record, they sent a representative down to measure the certified course, and determined it was 65 feet short. As disappointed as we were, at least the course was now "pre-validated" (in 2007), so there would be no question about any future records.
- On March 26th, Rodes hosted the 25th running of the City Run.
James Mutuse wins his 3rd RCR along with Bonita Paul in the women’s division. Chad Johnston wins his 5th consecutive RCR 10K in the wheeler division.
- The Rodes City Run 10K signs Saucony as their official shoe sponsor.
- James Mutuse claim his 4th RCR title, Susie Bush returns to win the women’s division, while Chad Johnston wins his 4th consecutive 10K in the wheeler division.
- Rodes City Run course is pre-validated by the USATF for future records (see 2005).
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running added its first Team Challenges for companies and organizations to compete for group awards.
- Chris Swisher won the RCR men’s division and Jamie King-O’Shea won the women’s division as well as the Triple Crown series. Greg McMahon would take the wheeler division.
- Kenyan Wesley Korir wins the men’s division in a crowd nearly 7,300. Erin Nehus takes the Triple Crown in the women’s division. Korir, the University of Louisville graduate is most famous for his ‘come from behind’ victory at the 2012 Boston Marathon but he is also a two-time winner of the Los Angeles Marathon, finished second in Chicago in 2011, and owns a personal best of 2:06:13, which he recorded at the 2012 Chicago Marathon.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running committed to use the newly-developed, single-use “D-Tag”, an all-weather design that attaches to the shoe. This eliminated the re-usable “chips” for timing.
- Jacob Korir (no relation to Wesley) wins the men’s division, Camille Herron takes the women’s division (and entire Triple Crown series) and Chad Johnston returns to win his 6th RCR in the wheeler division.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running introduces the inflatable “Start” and “Finish” arches.
- Jacob Korir wins his 2nd consecutive RCR in the men’s division and Liliya Yadzhak takes the women’s division.
- The Triple Crown’s newest sponsor, Louisville Stoneware, enlisted their ceramicist Ngoc Phan’s to design a trophy for the Triple Crown winner(s) beginning with the 2011 series. Phan’s bronze-colored “winged foot” trophy creation is awarded to the male and/or female who wins all three of the Triple Crown events. Louisville Stoneware also awards unique plates to the overall winners of each race.
- Local graphic artist, Lonnie Walker, creates a new “winged foot” logo for the Triple Crown to use in marketing and merchandise sales for the 3-race series. Walker, owner of Louisville’s PrimoGraphics Inc., has more than 30 years of experience in graphic design and advertising and has designed posters for the Kentucky Derby Festival.
- The Rodes City Run has a record 9,337 registrants and nearly 7,500 finishers.
- Reuben Mwei win’s the RCR men’s division, Risper Gesabwa captures the women’s division and Chad Johnston takes his 7th 10K.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running unveils its new website.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running signed on with ChronoTrack to use the new “B-tag” timing system. The B-Tag is an all-weather disposable RFID tag that adheres to the back of the participant's race number to record their time.
- The Rodes City Run lands on St. Patrick’s Day for only the 4th time in its 32-year history. Pius Nyantika wins the RCR with a course record of 28:58. Pius would also go on to win the Triple Crown series. Adrienne Herzog also broke the women’s division record with a time of 33:25. Matthew Porterfield won the wheelchair division.
- Gault Race Management, long-time timing partner with the Triple Crown events, initiated XAct Text and Social Media Messaging to the three-race series. Runner’s times are communicated at the finish line to anyone who signs up for the service, allowing friends and family to share the excitement and cheer their runner at the end.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running celebrated an amazing milestone and is presented the “Crusader Award” for donations toping over $1 million since 2002.
- Patrick Cheptoek wins the RCR men’s title, Alison Morgan wins the female division, Matthew Porterfield wins his 2nd consecutive men’s wheeler and Tina Vogel wins the first women’s wheeler title in the female division.
- The first leg event, the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic, celebrates its 10th year in the 3-race series. 2013 also represented the 10th year of Novo Nordisk’s sponsorship of the Triple Crown.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running donates a record $190,126 to the 60th Crusade for Children, to help improve the lives of special needs children. The Triple Crown ranked second in civic donors and fourth in overall donors, including all fire departments.
- The Rodes City Run 10K course must change once again due to the Ohio River Bridge Construction Project. Organizers come up with a loop course that starts and finishes at First & Broadway Streets, while still using most of the former route around Cave Hill cemetery.
- The Anthem 5K Fitness Classic course was also affected by bridge construction and moved its course out of downtown altogether near its headquarters in the EastPoint Business Park.
- Elijah Karanja (29:17-men’s) and Ludmila Stepanova (33:50-women’s), set the records for the new course. Jose Pulido takes the male wheeler division and Tina Vogel returns to claim the female wheeler win for the 2nd consecutive year.
- To date, the Rodes City Run 10K has donated over $500,000 and the Louisville Triple Crown of Running series has donated a total of over $1.6 million to the Crusade for Children.
- Geoffrey Kenisi takes the RCR men’s title and Emmy Chepkirui (both of Hebron, KY) wins the female division. Aaron Pike of Champagne, IL wins the men’s wheeler division in a field of 8.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running donates $134,350 to the 62nd Crusade for Children, to help improve the lives of special needs children.
- New course records were set in both the men's (Hillary Too @ 28:50) and women's (Demse Tewabech @ 33:15) divisions. Chad Johnson again swept the Triple Crown series in the wheeler division (25:51) while Tina Vogel won the women's wheeler in 33:43.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running, presented by Novo Nordisk for its 13th consecutive year, donates $142,146 to the 63rd Crusade for Children held June 4, 2016.
- Planet Fitness signs on as presenting sponsor of The Louisville Triple Crown of Running and Novo Nordisk becomes the sponsor of the Team Challenges.
- Ernest Kibet won the RCR in 30:42 and became the 6th person to win the Triple Crown series in the men's division. Angela Musk won the female division in 36:56 and Chad Johnson again took the Triple Crown series in the wheeler division (28:41) while Tina Vogel won the women's wheeler in 36:15.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running, presented by Planet Fitness, donates $77,886 to the 64th Crusade for Children held June 3, 2017.
- 2018 represented the worst year of weather in the history of the entire series, but particularly the RCR 10K, which suffered from frigid temps, blistering wind and cold rain! Michael Eaton won the male division in 29:17 and Sarah Pease won the female division in 34:45. Sarah also won the Triple Crown series! Chad Johnson won the Triple Crown in the wheeler division (31:57) while Arelle Jones won the women's wheeler in 41:18.
- The Louisville Triple Crown of Running, presented by Planet Fitness for its 2nd consecutive year, donates $38,990 to the 65th Crusade for Children held June 2, 2018.
- It is with deep regret that we must announce the cancellation of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running (LTCOR) race series, which includes the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic, Rodes City Run 10K and Papa John’s 10 Miler. 2019 was the final year of the LTCOR after 35 years.
Due to the steady decline in participation, available sponsorship dollars and rising operating costs, the Triple Crown Race Committee came to the only viable conclusion. The LTCOR could not continue to create the type of experience that would meet their standards and measure up to the quality events they have nurtured for nearly four decades
- In June 2019, RAM Racing, the nation’s premier endurance sports event production company, acquires the Louisville Triple Crown of Running to salvage the previous owners decision to cancel the series. RAM Racing adds the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K as the final leg of the Triple Crown of Running and retains both a 5K and 10K as the first two legs.