The 2020 Virtual OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Virtual Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K are new experiences for all of us. But with new experiences comes new, exciting opportunities! Although we will miss seeing your thousands of smiles, victory embraces, and that finish line feeling, we are #INdy Mini Together! Our 500 Festival staff and interns are thrilled at the opportunity to join you this year for the virtual races! As our staff and interns typically work on an operational front to ensure the best possible race for our participants, the virtual races are the perfect opportunity to experience all that you do during race day and the Month of May.
“I see first-hand what our participants are feeling and know that showing that we’re all in this together is important,” said Maggie LaMar, Digital Marketing Manager. “Plus, we never get to participate in this awesome race experience because we are working that full day. Now, I can finally say I’m doing it together with friends and family. (While social distancing of course!)”
The 500 Festival has been present in many aspects of several of our lives. However, this is a unique opportunity in which they are able to participate in a 500 Festival event as a current staff member.
Adrianne Johnson, Youth Programming & Events Coordinator, has participated in the Indy Mini, volunteered with the Festival, and is even a Princess Program alumna.
“I love the Indy Mini,” said Johnson. “I did the race with my parents in middle school and volunteered with starting corrals in high school. I was a Princess in 2015 so I worked the Gatorade station outside of Turn 2, then walked the race in 2016, 2017, & 2018 as a Back of the Pack volunteer. I love doing at-home workouts, but training and completing the virtual Indy Mini will give me good reason to get out and move!”
Joshua Reichart, Sr. Manager Partner Activation, has been a part of the 500 Festival team for 12 years.
“I have worked for the 500 Festival since 2008 and started off as an intern,” said Reichart. “I have watched multiple individuals cross that finish line and see the stories, as well as the face of accomplishment. It is one way to experience the event from an operation and set up standpoint, but always wanted experience what those participants feel during the Month of May. I feel that that this is a perfect opportunity to get back into running and support those that are participating virtual in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K.”
For some, this unique opportunity presents running as a new hobby or way to stay physically and mentally healthy.
“I am participating because a part of me has always wanted to get into running, but I just have not found the time to do it,” said Casey Hayes, Event & Program Intern. “In the past I have lacked the motivation to get out and start running, but I have slowly but surely found joy and excitement in getting into the fun of running. You never truly know what you are physically capable of. Push yourself, leave doubt behind and reach for new heights!”
Connor Ray, Event & Program Intern, has also taken on the challenge as this will be his first time participating in any type of running event.
“We got this! One day at a time, one mile at a time,” Ray said.
Cole Bailey, Registration, Ticketing & Customer Service Coordinator, is looking forward to pushing himself to conquer a distance which he has never ran.
“I have never run a distance this far but I am thrilled for the challenge it’s going to bring,” Bailey said. “It doesn’t matter how long it takes you from the start line to the finish line. What matters most is that you finished the race! Make sure you have fun and stay positive.”
Others are no strangers to the sport of running. Ryan Cash, Event & Program Intern, ran collegiate cross country and track at Indiana State University.
“I enjoy running and want to be able to support the Festival,” Cash said. Have fun while training and chase your goals!”
Helen Khamis, Marketing Coordinator, Youth Programs and Events, is also a seasoned running veteran. Having grown up running cross country and track, she has always had her eye on completing a half marathon. The virtual Indy Mini seemed like the perfect opportunity for Helen to conquer her 13.1.
“Working at the 500 Festival and being around the running environment again has reignited my interest and motivation to the running world,” Khamis said. “It is one thing to work the Indy Mini from an operational standpoint, but I have always wanted to experience the emotions and joy of completing a half marathon. Getting outside for a walk or run – at a safe distance from others, of course – can do wonders for our minds and bodies. It gives us a chance to clear our thoughts and take a moment to reset from the world. Find what motivates you and take it one step at a time.”
In true Hoosier spirit, Patrick Merna, Vice President Strategic Partnerships, is continuing to celebrate the Month of May in Indianapolis during his Indy Mini.
“Just planned our route and great downtown and 500 Festival ties with going buy locations for the routes with Parade, Memorial Service, the Mini Start/Finish Line and other city landmarks!” said Merna.
Whenever and wherever you are conquering your miles from, know that we are right there with you. From our finish lines to yours, our support stretches infinite miles. We are truly #INdy Mini Together!