Spring in Louisville means Derby is right around the corner, unless you are a student or alum of Spalding University; then it means The Rat Race is near. Forty years ago, Sister Julia Clare Fontaine heard students talking about the "rat race" of finals week. As a means to alleviate the stress of the closing Spring semester at Spalding, Sister Julia Clare immediately took to the track - a very small track, that is.
The "Most exciting 2 seconds in sports", according to Trivial Pursuit, allows students, staff, and professors to train rats to run in hopes of capturing the coveted garland of fruit-o's, sometimes confused with the popular Fruit Loops cereal. Emcee and gracious host Dawn Gee of WAVE 3 amazingly brings students, faculty, staff, and alums together at "Spalding Downs" in the Ballroom, once a year to celebrate rats with names like, Lady Luck, Roulette, Burlesque and LibeRATce. A mere .024 furlongs and an average 1.8 seconds pass by until one rat is lucky, or smart enough to finish the course
A fun-filled parade takes a route from 4th and Breckenridge Streets down to Broadway and back up 3rd prior to the Rat Race. Trolleys from TARC, Louisville Metro Fire Department, and each school & department of Spalding are well represented in the parade, throwing candy to supporters lined along 4th and 3rd Streets. Spalding President, Tori Murden McClure walks at the head of the parade to signify her support for this time honored tradition in the Spalding community.
Each year, a specific theme for the Rat Race is chosen by Spalding students. Themes in the recent past have included, "The Year of the Rat" in the Chinese zodiac; "Peace, Love, and Rats"; and this year's theme, "Viva Rat Vegas". Stay tuned to Spalding University's website for details on next year's Rat Race - more fun than one can expect over a garland of O's.