WKU group training for bourbon-themed relay

Bourbon Chase course route

Cameron Koch

Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve — mixers for a good night in any college town.

Next month, 10 WKU professors, a former graduate student and his wife are hoping these are the key ingredients for success in a relay race across the heart of bourbon country.

This group of 12, who call their team “Dipped in Red,” will participate in “The Bourbon Chase” on Oct. 7 and 8, a 200-mile overnight relay that will have runners traveling through historic bourbon distilleries and the Kentucky countryside.

The relay begins in Clermont at the Jim Beam distillery, with the relay path bobbing and weaving its way toward the finish line in Lexington, visiting five other distilleries along the way.

Susann Davis, the team captain and instructor in the modern languages department, ran in The Bourbon Chase its inaugural year in 2009.

Inma Pertusa, an associate professor in the modern languages department, Ben Saathoff, a former graduate student, and Saathoff’s wife, Michelle, also participated in the first Bourbon Chase under the team name “All Grain No Pain.”

Davis and Pertusa ran the chase again in 2010, this time with Eddy Cuisinier, an instructor from the modern languages department, and Destiny O’Rourke, an alumni and former WKU employee.

Cuisinier ran with Davis in the 2010 race and expressed interest in running again.

“We had such a blast,” Cuisinier said. “We thought it would be fun to have an all-WKU team.”

Marshall Gray, director of the WKU Post Office, was contacted by Davis about putting a WKU team together.

“Susann kind of spearheaded it,” Gray said.

For the 2011 Bourbon Chase, Davis wanted a name that captured both WKU and the theme of the race.

“I wanted to marry Western with bourbon,” Davis said.

After the suggestion of “Dipped in Red” from Michelle Trawick, the name was decided upon.

Davis said that in preparation for the relay, each team member is training in his or her own way.

“We are doing a lot of individual training,” she said. “Not everybody has to run the same length. We are all training individually for our specific leg of the race.”

Each team member will be running three legs of the race.

Gray and Cuisinier have both been training by running on the weekends and participating in various other marathons. Cuisinier said he runs three or four times a week for a total of about 20 miles.

Davis hopes to have a few times where the team will train and run together as a group before the chase next month.

“With this being our first year, it’s more about coming together as a team, getting the experience this first time around,” Gray said.

Cuisinier also emphasized the team coming together.

“It’s a great idea for people at WKU to bond and connect out of school,” he said.