Our History/Memorial Mile


30+ Years of Tradition

In 1984, the Bluegrass Runners, Kentucky’s first (and therefore oldest!) running club, hosted their first edition of their marquee event, the Thoroughbred Classic. Originally run in September as a 10K, the Club changed the distance to a 5K and moved the race to Thanksgiving. Since then, every Thanksgiving morning, runners and walkers from across the country come to Lexington, Kentucky to take part in the Thoroughbred Classic 5K and Kay Collins Memorial Mile. Still organized and presented locally by the Bluegrass Runners, the Thoroughbred Classic is a family-friendly event whose main purpose is to benefit several local charities. 2015’s race had the largest attendance in its 30-plus-year history. In 2017, we were able to make our largest ever donations to charity, totaling $44,000.

The Kay Collins Memorial Mile

KayCollinsKay Collins an avid, enthusiastic runner for over 20 years who competed in races from 5K’s to mini-marathons, was an important friend to many Bluegrass Runners.  Originally from Campbellsville, Kentucky, Kay graduated from Western Kentucky University with an undergraduate degree in teaching and a masters degree in reading. Kay passed away in her sleep in March 1996 from a brain aneurysm.  A few years before her death, she started doing storytelling using stories about her life and the people who interacted with her. She developed an extensive collection of stories. As a teacher she introduced storytelling as a teaching technique for 4th graders. Kay is remembered as a witty, charming, endearing person who everyone instantly liked.

After her untimely death, the Bluegrass Runners honored her by adding a one-mile fun run dedicated to her memory.  Starting in 2015, we are dedicating the first mile of the 5K to her memory as well as to the memory of other Bluegrass Runners and friends that we have lost over the years. We believe this mile can be important to you too on this holiday to remember and celebrate the memories of those you wish could be with you on this Thanksgiving holiday.