Spalding to host 47th Annual Running of the Rodents with Harry Potter-inspired ‘Ratly Hallows’ theme

Steve Jones

On Thursday, April 18, Spalding University will host its 47th Annual Running of the Rodents with the Harry Potter-inspired theme, “Ratly Hallows.” The public is invited to attend.

The rat races start at 11:20 a.m. in the third-floor ballroom of the College Street Building, 812 S. Second Street. A public parade through campus will precede the event at 10:45 a.m., starting at Mother Catherine Square, located at 318 W. Breckinridge St. between South Third and South Fourth streets.

In one of Spalding’s oldest, proudest traditions and in a twist on the Kentucky Derby, trained rodents will compete for the coveted garland of fruit-flavored ring cereal as they speed around a miniature racetrack—.024 furlongs in length (about 16 feet).

During Thursday’s festivities, participants will be dressed in Harry Potter-inspired attire, or in Kentucky Derby tradition, decorated hats. Spalding President Tori Murden McClure has used retired commencement regalia to create Hogswarts-style costumes for herself, the Presidential Leadership Team, the Student Government Association and the Spalding student Social Media Ambassadors.

Lunch (cash-only) will be offered after the races.

The Running of the Rodents is organized by Spalding’s student-led Campus Activities Board in partnership with the Department of Student Development and Campus Life.

Check out the Facebook event for the rat races.

47th Annual Running of the Rodents

WHEN: Thursday, April 18 – Rat Parade, 10:45 a.m. (starting at Mother Catherine Square, 318 W. Breckinridge St.), Running of the Rodents rat races to follow, 11:20 a.m. “Call to the Post” (College Street Building third-floor ballroom, aka Spalding Downs, 812 S. Second St.).

RAT RACE ORIGIN: When Sister Julia Clare Fontaine overheard a senior student complain about the “rat race” of finals week, she immediately had an idea for a stress reliever before spring exams. Since 1973, the Running of the Rodents has been a fun-filled Louisville tradition around Derby season. It was coined as “The Most Exciting Two Seconds in Sports” by Trivial Pursuit® after 1987’s Deep Throat won the Rodent Derby in 1.8 seconds.