Runners awaiting the start of the 40th annual Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and 12th annual Marathon.
Balloons rise for the start of the Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race.
Balloon crews try to drop their bag of Bluegrass seed closest to the target "X"
One of the crews makes their drop near the target.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two of the biggest Kentucky Derby Festival events were held Saturday morning and both went off without a hitch.
For the first time in several years the Great Balloon Race finally took to the skies on schedule. The rain held off, the ceiling remained high and winds cooperated as the fleet of 27 balloons lifted off from Bowman Field.
Winds carried the balloons east of downtown where the U.S. Bank hair balloon set down close to 7:30 a.m. on a driving range near River Road. After competing balloons dropped their seed bags as close to the mark as possible, many carried on across the Ohio River into Jeffersonville, IN where they eventually landed.
Around the same time, the 40th annual Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and 12th annual Marathon kicked off along Main Street between Preston and Floyd Streets. Thousands of runners from across the U.S. and around the world took to the pavement, along with over a dozen wheelchair participants, for the 13.1 mile mini and 26.2 mile full marathon.
One of those runners, Tony Reed of Dallas, Texas, is the executive director of the National Black Marathoners Association. Reed has run over a hundred marathons all over the world and was in Boston during the attacks two weeks ago. He wasn't running that race but was there to cheer on his step-daughter and was near the finish line when the bombs went off. Luckily, Reed and his family escaped harm.
"I was just blessed that we weren't injured," said Reed. "My heart goes out to the people that were injured and were killed, but it hasn't stopped by desire to continue to run marathons."
Even though he was witness to the terrorist act that took the lives of several people and injured hundreds, Reed is not letting that hamper is excitement for running this year's marathon in Louisville. That was pretty much the attitude of many of the runners we talked to. They attended to have a good time and enjoy one of the Kentucky Derby Festival's premiere events.