Louisville Pure Tap® – the Drink of Choice for Marathoners

Scott marking a water stop

Months of preparation have all been leading up to Saturday, the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) mini/MARATHON. The runners aren’t the only ones who hit the ground running in early 2024. Louisville Water crews navigated the course to inspect all 15 water stops.

“They went out and physically marked (the stops) and got everything squared away, where the water that’s going to be needed, needs to go,” Executive Vice President and KDF Board member Dave Vogel explained.

Louisville Water expects to serve up about 12,000 gallons of Louisville Pure Tap® to runners and volunteers.

It’s a big job making sure everything is ready to go come race day, but this is not Plumber Leader Chris Meeks’ first lap around the block.

“I started doing this when I was a plumber leader’s assistant. They would just pull me off for the week and replace me with somebody else on my crew,” Meeks said.

Damaged water stopAside from marking all the hydration station sites, Meeks and Plumber Leader’s Assistant Scott Corbin are checking the water sources to ensure they’re working and providing a good flow of water. During one of their routine checks, they discovered a damaged water stop along UofL’s campus.

“Somebody ran over it. It’s so damaged that the valve won’t operate.” Meeks said that stop is particularly important because, “It’s a sample station that the lab (water quality) uses to take samples and they’re very convenient sources to hook hoses up to use for races.”

Fortunately, they found it in plenty of time to replace it. In the days before the race, Louisville Water’s water quality team is analyzing samples and crews are disinfecting hoses to ensure only high-quality Pure Tap is poured into the cups for runners. Our crews are up long before the race starts, making absolutely sure everything is ready.

Meeks said, “It’s a lot of coordinating and time. Timing in the morning when we hook up. We’re trying to beat the table crews before they set up so that they don’t set up in the wrong spot and they know exactly where the water source is going to be.”

And they’re ready for any bumps in the road.

Water stop“We’ll generally pay a visit to the stops and make sure everything is going okay. We’ve had instances where hoses have blown off or blown apart. It just happens, stuff wears out. We keep extra spare parts on our truck so we can quickly get ‘em back in service.”

Dozens of other Louisville Water employees will hand out cups of refreshment and relief at our Third Street headquarters as well as the Runners Reunite tent after the finish line.

Vogel remembers, “You’d see these marathoners coming and they’re on like mile 25. And you can see, they’re just drained. Last year and the year before, we didn’t see the marathoners. They were all over on the Indiana side. We will see them this year coming through.”

And we’ll be waiting with an ice-cold cup of Pure Tap and a little extra boost.

“We do a little cheer for them as well, encouraging them. It’s exciting and it’s fun,” Meeks said.

Louisville Water wishes all of the runners good luck and offers this Pure Tap pro-tip: drink water before you’re thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, your body has already lost up to five cups of water.