Rat Week & the Running of the Rodents

Monday, April 8 — Thursday, April 11

Running of the Rodents: Rats through the Ages 50th anniversary

One of the Spalding’s proudest and most fun campus traditions, the annual Running of the Rodents, was created by Sister Julia Clare Fontaine after overhearing a student complain about the “rat race” of finals. Since its inception in 1973, the Running of the Rodents has been a fun-filled, annual Louisville tradition that serves as both a stress reducer and a unique method of teaching students about animal care as well as behavior modification techniques.

Over the years, the Running of the Rodents has received much attention, with segments airing on national news syndicates as well as BBC London, BBC Mexico and BBC Canada. Trivial Pursuit® coined the race as “The Most Exciting Two Seconds in Sports” after 1987’s rat, Deep Throat, won the Rodent Derby in 1.8 seconds.

You can read more about the history of this unique event in our blog post celebrating the 50th Running of the Rodents.


Monday, April 8

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Rat Week Kick-Off

Meet the Rats

2:00 – 4:00 PM: Solar Eclipse Viewing

Tuesday, April 9

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Spring Fling

Café Karaoke

Wednesday, April 10

10:00 – 1:00 PM: Student Success Fair

Voter Registration Drive

Alumni Event

Thursday, April 11

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM: 51st Annual Running of the Rodents

6:00 – 9:00 PM: Rat Formal

Past Races

1st rat race banner
1985 Spalding Rat Race underway
Spalding students carrying banner for 1986 rat race
Rat Race '91: Spalding students holding up sign supporting their rat, Susan B Ratony
Spalding students around rat race track as the race begins
Spalding students around rat race track during 1986 Rat Race
Group of smiling students, including one holding a white rat, making a 'W" gesture to celebrate Running of the Rodents victory
Crowd gathered around rat race track for Rat Race 1984
Welcome to the Rat Race banner for Rat Race 1988
At the 2016 Running of the Rodents, rats race around a green oval track with plexi-glass walls while a female student cheers and several onlookers take pictures
Spalding student Amanda Jewell holds a white rat named Luna after it won the Running of the Rodents
Group of human rat race participants after completing obstacle course


"My favorite Spalding memory would have to be attending the Running of the Rodents, aka the Spalding Rat Race, every year. I have attended the last five since starting at Spalding my freshman year in 2014. Kentucky Derby season is my favorite time of the year, and it’s super cool to me that Rat Race kind of unofficially starts the Derby festivities in the city. I enjoy getting friends together and walking in the parade beforehand and cheering on my favorite departments’ rat! Once I graduate, I will absolutely come back and attend the Rat Race every year."

Hannah Mattingly
Health Science ’19

"My favorite Spalding memory was when the School of Nursing won the 2019 Rat Race. I had never heard of this tradition prior to transferring to Spalding University, but it was definitely a fun and interesting experience being a 'rat trainer.' We almost won the year before, so I was determined to pull through for first place this year!"

Amanda Jewell
Nursing ’19

“This event is what we’re all about – an awesome sense of community and making sure everyone’s included.”

Ethan Thornton
Business Administration – Marketing ’21

For More Info

Ethan Thornton
Director of Student Engagement
Phone: (502) 873-4434
Email: [email protected]