Want to run a race with your dog or maybe in a costume or even both? Or run a race along the Ohio River? Maybe you’re looking for a fun winter race series to keep you motived? River City Races has one for you. Combining a unique and fun race day experience, the best race swag in town, and raising money for worthy local charities, they are what the best of a running community is all about.
In 2003 local Fleet Feet owner and runner Camille Estes saw an important gap in the race market in Louisville, a lack of affordable races that are accessible to runners and walkers of all levels. She decided to help fill that gap with River City Races, providing inclusive, welcoming, and downright fun races that have proved a hit with the local community.
Initially, they started with the Polar Bear Grand Prix, a series of races in Cherokee Park. “People weren’t buying shoes in the winter so we created a series of winter races to give people something to train for so they’d come in for their shoes, apparel and running accessories,” explained Camille. “After we sold Fleet Feet back to Fleet Feet we couldn’t call it Fleet Feet Racing anymore so we came up with River City Races.”
Camille’s association and friendship with Judy started way back to her Fleet Feet days. She firmly believes, as we do, in female small business owners sticking together. Plus, she loves the product and is proud to offer them as add-on race swag as well as wear them herself. “I love the fit and the variety of patterns and colors,” related Camille. “Not only do I use them every day on my runs to keep my hair in check and out of my face (I’m not a big sweater) but under my bicycle helmet to absorb the sweat that can run down into my eyes from my scalp, and it keeps me from getting a big red mark across my forehead after I ride. My husband is a big proponent as well. I gave him a couple of mine in muted colors and he wears one every day when he rides also.”
In 2018, they added the increasingly popular Run the 502 series which has fun and unique races like the Dog Jog, Stroller Strut & Human Race 5k and the upcoming Downtown Doubler 30k/15k/8k/4k and 30k/8k Relay, offering Ponya’s Louisville Skyline Black Bamboo Terry-Lined Sweatband as part of their race swag. Registration for the Downtown Doubler on September 19th, 2021 is still open.
As a race director, Camille loves the people the most. “A lot of our former Fleet Feet customers have stayed loyal and races are where we get to catch up and see each other,” she said. “Also, the familiar faces that always show up and the satisfaction of sending a nice size check to whatever charity is the beneficiary of one of our events.” This love and appreciation for the local community goes far and is definitely felt by anyone who has run one of her races.
River City Races puts on fun and unique events that are affordable, offer great products and when they can, raises funds for worthy charities. The pandemic definitely challenged River City Races, but they used, and continue to use, their flexibility to provide the best race experience possible with innovative ideas for race venues, swag, and awards, including offering Ponya Bands. With their expanded race calendar, there’s something to fit into anyone’s training or life schedule.