Late Friday night and early Saturday morning, while most Kentuckians were asleep (or celebrating Centre College’s Homecoming), a team of 12 women from the Centre College community was competing in the Bourbon Chase, a 200-mile race across the state.
The team, aptly named the “Gold and White Girls,” was brought together by Lisa Owens, Centre women’s cross country and track head coach, who played a significant role in the race last year as a volunteer but did not herself compete.
“Last year, the first year for the Bourbon Chase race, Mike Kuntz, (the race director) contacted me about the possibilities of our men’s and women’s cross country teams helping out since there were seven relay exchanges in the Danville area and they needed as much volunteer help as they could get,” Owens says. “We weren’t racing that weekend, so I decided that it would be a good service project for our team to help out the community with such a unique event.”
The Centre cross country teams worked the exchanges from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. during last year’s event, and playing a role in the organization quickly convinced Owens that she wanted to compete in the second annual race.
“After helping with the event, I decided that I had to be a participant the next year,” she says. “I decided that I wanted to get an ‘all Centre’ team of women together; my plan was to get several alumni runners that I’d previously coached involved.”
The women making up the 2010 Gold and White Girls team are Owens; Gina Nicoletti, assistant athletic director and director of Buck Fitness Center; Holly Overcash ’10; Bethany Pratt ’10; Christanna Schuman ’08; Kasey Jackson ’11; Ines Kevric ’07; Terribeth Brunker ’99; Amanda McCracken ’00; Megan Miller ’11; Sara Morgan ’99; and Lisa Nesmith ’95, assistant director for the College’s Center for Global Citizenship.
During the Bourbon Chase, each of the women ran an average of six miles per leg, and each runner ran three legs of the race. The first leg began near Clermont, Ky., and the last ended in downtown Lexington in front of Rupp Arena.
Running with so many fellow Centre alumnae, Jackson says, was incredibly rewarding.
“So often running is an individual event,” she says. “So I like running on relay teams because you get that sense of team—a group of people working together for a common goal. Everyone supports each other and when you do well you all get to celebrate together. It’s just more fun than running by yourself, for yourself.”
Owens says that though there were many aspects of the race she was looking forward to, “probably the most exciting and intriguing aspect of the race to me was running in the middle of the night under a full moon. Running on the roads by myself in the dark was an adventure. I think that most of the women on the team were looking forward to this aspect.”
The Gold and White Girls finished third in their division with a time of 27:35:11. “It was an amazing experience,” Owens says, “and definitely the most physically and mentally challenging thing that I have ever done.”