#IndyMini Ambassador: Ryan McElroy

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories.

 

Ryan’s Story

 

I grew up in Ireland and have been living in Indianapolis for the past two years. Last year, I witnessed my first OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon for the first time. As people crossed the finish line, I saw looks of accomplishment while people embraced their friends and family. I wanted to be a part of something that was so impactful for individuals of all ages and abilities.

I also work in the events industry and have an appreciation for this unique festival!

 

Ryan’s #IndyMini Experience

 

I became aware of the 500 Festival through fellow students at IUPUI. From an outside perspective, I have learned that the 500 Festival is special to Hoosiers. Since moving to Indianapolis, I have recognized the importance of the month of May and have come to learn that there is a sense of civic pride associated with it.

 

Although I have always played some form of sports, I never considered myself a runner. I get satisfaction from achieving personal goals and being a part of the 500 Festival. I do most of my training around the downtown canal and White River Trail. From a personal standpoint, the Indy Mini is a great way to celebrate this and I am excited to immerse myself in this local tradition by running over the iconic bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Ryan’s Advice

 

While being physically able and training is important, so much of running with endurance comes down to your mindset. Set your goals high and believe in yourself!

 

Feeling inspired by Ryan’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Ryan, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing his training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

#IndyMini Ambassador: Melissa Freeman

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Melissa’s Story

 

In the fall of 2016, after starting law school, I decided to make a change in my life. I set my sights the 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, with a goal to run and finish my first half marathon. Although training was intimidating, it proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences I could have imagined. Throughout my training, I learned that my limitations were only in my mind and weren’t indicative of what I could accomplish. I learned that I am capable of accomplishing feats that I had once thought were impossible. Through perseverance and hard work, I finished the Indy Mini and loved it.

 

Melissa’s #IndyMini Experience

 

The Indy Mini was more than just a race to me. It represents the beginning of what I have accomplished and everything that I will accomplish in the future. Since fall 2016, I have lost over thirty pounds and have developed a passion for running. As I train for my second Mini-Marathon, I am looking forward to running around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and kissing the bricks!

 

Melissa’s Advice

 

Trust your training, plan and have fun! If this is your first half marathon, focus on finishing rather than a specific goal time. During the race, focus on your music, smile at spectators, read signs, go for the high five, just don’t focus on the fact your body hurts with still many miles to go. You are going to cross the finish line before you know it. Don’t get discouraged, you can do this!

 

Feeling inspired by Melissa’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Melissa, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing her training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

#IndyMini Ambassador: Paige Freund

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Paige’s Story

 

In the seventh grade, I started running cross country. My best friend encouraged me to join her on the team and ever since, I have loved running. Throughout high school, I ran track and cross country and upon my first year of college, I completed my first half marathon! My runner’s high continued and never stopped – it’s something that relieves stress and helps me find joy!

 

Paige’s #IndyMini Experience

 

I wish I could say that I had an Indy Mini “story,” but the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon was always a race I wanted to run. I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago, then when I went to college at Butler University, there was a constant buzz leading up to the Mini-Marathon. I think most of my inspiration came from my best friend, Allie, who was a 500 Festival Princess – her Hoosier roots and connection to the 500 Festival are to thank for my growing affinity for the race.

 

In particular, I love the entertainment that is everywhere! It is truly a special experience to have live music and people cheering you on all throughout the course. You can’t forget about running on the track of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s definitely not something most people can say they have done until that have run the Indy Mini!

 

Paige’s Advice

                                                                                                                                

Advice that I would give first-time participants is to actually train, but always listen to your body. You do not need to PR every race (something I am starting to realize) because listening to your body is more important. Walk when you need to, drink water when needed, and keep up on your energy with gels or chews, it will become very important throughout the race!

 

Feeling inspired by Paige’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Paige, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing her training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

#IndyMini Ambassador: Kerry Bieschke

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Kerry’s Story

As a stay at home mom, full-time student, and new runner, finding balance in my training has been difficult.  Especially since it’s hard to find time away from my kids to get out for a training run. However, I do this for my kids. To be healthier and able to play with them more is why I started working out. I was tired of being the first one to get tired and building up my endurance has helped me keep up with my 4- and 6-year-old kids. Originally, my goal was triathlons, but with the contest win last year, it switched to just running, and I haven’t gotten around to the triathlon bit… at least not yet.

 

Kerry’s #IndyMini Experience

I almost compulsively enter contests. Last year, Channel 13 (who sponsors the event) had an entrance for the Mini as a prize and I entered thinking it would be 6-8 weeks from the contest, but it was only four weeks from the prize being awarded to the start of the race. So I had to go from a couch potato to a half marathoner in a month (I really don’t recommend it, but it was survivable). This year, doing the Miler Series has been so great and getting the training runs that far apart has really helped me to increase my distance and pace in a safe and reliable manner. I’m hoping to cut almost an hour off of last year’s Mini time!

 

Kerry’s Advice

 

Honestly, the only other races I’ve ever done are the fun 5Ks (like with sprayed color, or slides and silly things like that). Though my experience with the Mini did seem more community-based than those 5Ks.  When I was doing the Mini last year, other runners would talk to me, and give me encouragement if I needed it and it felt like we were all doing this together instead of a bunch of individuals just going the same way.

 

Feeling inspired by Kerry’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Kerry, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing her training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

#IndyMini Ambassador: David Lawrence

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

David’s Story

My first ever Mini-Marathon in 2004 was to be a once in a lifetime event. I had run many 5Ks up to that point, still feeding off my love of running from high school days, and was encouraged by my brother to run the Mini-Marathon with him. At the time, I was a new teacher and found the time to train to be intensive. The distance seemed far longer than any human should run so I planned to run it once and go back to 5K running.

 

David’s #IndyMini Experience

Once you complete such a monumental event you realize that you CAN do it again and do it better, so I continued to run the Mini-Marathon for six years straight and got my PR in 2010. During that time, I had connected to so many runners in the area and we encouraged each other to run it each year, but then I moved away from the Indy area, lost touch with the people, and stopped running altogether.

I found a colleague where I currently work who also had been running the Mini-Marathon for many years and encouraged me to get back into running. Once I got back into running, I found that there were a lot of runners in our community and started connecting to many of them. A couple years ago, while exploring the Mini-Marathon website, I ran across the opportunity to be a Team Captain for our company for the Employee Wellness Challenge. I was greatly encouraged by the response of our community and I am leading it again this year. I really enjoy meeting up with my running friends from the Indy area each year along with those from where I live now. The Mini-Marathon is the only race where I get to connect with my running friends from before and the traditions we established together before and after the race. I have now gotten into the habit of completing two half marathons each year: the Indy Mini in the spring and another in the fall.

 

David’s Advice

Proper training is important but don’t worry if you aren’t able to complete every day of your training. The long easy runs are the most valuable in building endurance so try not to skip those. Simply completing the Indy-Mini for the first time is so rewarding in itself and there are so many people there to encourage you along the entire course. It is such a great accomplishment to look forward to and I hope you enjoy every minute of it.

 

Feeling inspired by David’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Andrew, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing his training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

 

#IndyMini Ambassador: Andrew Bartolacci

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Andrew’s Story

I run for my family and students, they both mean the world to me. When my son Bo was born in 2016, I got back into running. While he napped and my wife needed rest, I took advantage of that time. As a physical education teacher for an IPS school, I am an advocate for exercise and sports. When dozens of my students wanted to play soccer, but the school didn’t have any funding for teams, I was bothered that they didn’t have athletic opportunities. I made it my mission to make a difference. Through training and the 8-Hour Endurance Race, I ran 40 miles under eight hours and raised $1,000. Each mile was worth $25 and contributed to the funding of three soccer teams that including covering costs of equipment and registration. Running allowed me to give children the ability to play sports and build positive character traits. The time leading up to that achievement was equally as valuable. I spent my countless hours of training with my son. He rode along with me in his stroller and it was cherished “dude time.”

 

I run to show my students that being active is an important part of life. I run to show my son how to accomplish goals. This year’s Indy Mini comes with extra motivation; my wife, dad, and friends are running. Watching them train has been so motivating. My wife hates running, but she’s up to nine miles in her training! I am looking forward to seeing her cross the finish line and accomplish something she never thought she’d do. With her, I hope to do great things and qualify for the Boston Marathon!

 

Andrew’s #IndyMini Experience

When I moved to Indianapolis, I was told that I had to run the Indy Mini. Considering I’ve been here for four years and this will be my fourth year running the race, you could say that I’ve enjoyed it. As I learned about the programs that the race funds for students, I’m even more eager to continue the tradition. Running around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is pretty great, but the Mini-Marathon’s impact on the community is much greater. The registrations are literally funding physical activity in schools across the city and that is everything to me.

 

Andrew’s Advice

My advice is simple. Just be you. Don’t worry about being passed or what other walkers/runners are doing. Just focus on being you and having a good time. Take it all in.

I’m so glad that you are joining in on the fun and thank you for helping fund running programs and initiatives for my students and others through your Mini-Marathon registration.

 

Feeling inspired by Andrew’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Andrew, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing his training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

 

#IndyMini Ambassador – Michelle Corrigan

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Michelle’s Story

 

This year is not only my comeback race, but it’s also going to be a life-saving race for my younger sister. On the very day that I found out I was chosen to be an Indy Mini Ambassador, my younger sister was given a scary medical prognosis; she is morbidly obese and her weight is taking a toll on her life. Her doctor said that if she didn’t lose weight soon, her days would be numbered. From that point on, my sister has dedicated her life to becoming a healthier individual and it was my mission to help in that fight.

 

Of course, I had my concerns about the pressures and strain of training for a half marathon, but my sister was bound and determined to use the Mini-Marathon as a tool in her weight loss journey. Little by little, she has lost a total of 45 pounds since November and is more mobile than she has been in 20 years. Her progress is keeping her right on track to meet the Mini-Marathon cut off time. She is happier and healthier than ever and continues to prove her doubters wrong. Her doctors are impressed and her colleagues are even calling her a “health nut.” This year, the Indy Mini is going to be the race that saved my sister’s life, and for that, I couldn’t be more proud and excited to be the ambassador that crosses the finish line with her.

 

Michelle’s #IndyMini Experience

 

I’ve been a runner since middle school. So, many years ago, when a good friend of mine talked me into the running the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, I didn’t hesitate. I fell in love with the race and ran several years in a row thereafter. This is my comeback race, and it’s been the perfect way to redirect my healthy lifestyle.

It’s difficult to pinpoint my favorite part of the race, but this year’s race is on the weekend of my birthday. There is no better way to celebrate than with 30,000 other like-minded people, doing what we love.

 

Michelle’s Advice

 

Nothing is impossible! Never doubt yourself and never, never, NEVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. You can achieve amazing things if you think positively, train properly and NEVER give up!

 

Feeling inspired by Michelle’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Michelle, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing her training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

 

Indy Mini Ambassador: Kyle LeFeber

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Kyle’s Story

 

It all started with a New Year’s resolution when I woke up and decided to make a positive change in my life. I used the idea of a “clean slate” as a basis of encouragement to start running. At that point in my life, nothing was going my way; I was surrounded by negativity and bad influences. I wanted to be a good influence in my family, learn about myself and test my capabilities. Once I incorporated running into my life, a new chapter began. I never thought that a four-mile run would be the foundation of an entirely new lifestyle. My connection to the running community kept me grounded and humble, which I needed most when I endured a house fire. My competitive nature will never stop me from becoming better than I was yesterday. I believed in myself, said goodbye to negativity and put in the time to become a better runner. Since my resolution, I have completed three Mini-Marathons, traveled across the Midwest to smash PRs and continue pursuing a lifestyle that incorporates running each day.

 

Kyle’s #IndyMini Experience

 

My connection to the Indianapolis 500 carved a special place in my heart for the 500 Festival and the Indy Mini. As a past IndyCar crew member and an avid fan, the 500 Festival extended my love for the city, the people and the racing. During my time as an Indy Mini Ambassador, I have had the opportunity to connect with so many people and inspire others through my passion to motivate. I feed off of the pure inspiration and adrenaline that that the Mini-Marathon provides.

My favorite part about the race is the challenging 2.5-mile trek around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It gets hot, but kissing the bricks makes it all worth it. The photo opportunity is something that is only available to Indy Mini participants and Indianapolis 500 winners! As the finish line nears, the crowd that lines the stretch of Victory Mile adds fuel to make it to the end.

 

Kyle’s Advice

 

For all first-time participants, my advice to you is to enjoy every little bit of this race. I want you to go out there and dance to the music, take pictures, make memories and remember the experience forever. When it comes to training, stretch before and after your runs, strength train three times per week, rest when necessary and stay hydrated. Make sure you balance your slow runs with training that tests your limits. Your participation in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is inspiring others, including me! You’re in the race, now let’s cross the finish line and celebrate together!

 

Feeling inspired by Kyle’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Kyle, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing his training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

Indy Mini Ambassador: Jessie Hughes O’Leary

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Jessie’s Story

 

About three years ago, I started running, a major decision for someone who was overweight and had previously refused to run for any reason. I was at the start line of a race that I planned to walk. Unintentionally, I started running with those around me. In that moment, I felt powerful and strong and during that race, the running/walking combination gave me the spark to dedicate myself to a healthy lifestyle. It was the beginning of my ten-month journey to my goal race, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

 

Each year, my Indy Mini story evolves like another chapter in a fantasy book, yet none of it is make believe! My very first Indy Mini was about a bucket list challenge, an unimaginable feat that I would cross off of my list! I was determined to achieve a healthy, happy version of myself and prove that I could accomplish a goal with support from my family. As a result of reaching my personal goals and inspiring others; my mom, aunt and husband are now participating in the 500 Festival 5K!

 

My second year of running the race was targeted toward testing my limits. In 2017, I ran a 5K PR, but missed my half marathon PR by about five minutes. I immediately registered for the 2018 races again with the intention to improve my time. This year, my the race is about more than my time, it’s about community, too! My family is participating; my husband in the 5K and the Mini, my mom, two aunts and cousin in the 5K, and another cousin and aunt in the Mini-Marathon! Two close friends and I are supporting each other online from three different states as we train. The community of Indy Mini Ambassadors has been a phenomenal bonus to the whole experience. I am also running this year for my awesome buddy, Tristan, who inspires and motivates me to keep going. #IRun4Tristan

 

Jessie’s #IndyMini Experience

 

As a native of the Indianapolis area, I always dreamed of participating in the Mini-Marathon one day. When I started running and training, the Indy Mini was my goal race! I had such a blast on race day and met my goal of under three hours without stopping during the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway section. No race compares to the community course atmosphere – whether it’s the volunteer support, the fun factor, an awesome poster, a little cowbell or some great jams, they all give me an extra boost! I compare every other race to the Mini-Marathon. It’s the Gold Standard and definite bucket list item.

 

Jessie’s Advice

 

Enjoy the race! This is the most amazing experience – the crowds, entertainment, other participants and the IMS all contribute to the takeaways. Take out your earbuds, keep your head up and be aware of all the excitement, that is energy, to keep you going. If you are struggling, go for that high five, hit the power-up button poster, thank a police officer or volunteer, or dance – it makes a world of difference. If the race doesn’t go as you planned, enjoy the party.

 

Feeling inspired by Jessie’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Jessie, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing her training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!

 

 

#IndyMini Ambassador: Emily Eaton

A record-breaking 42 #IndyMini Ambassadors are training, recruiting and inspiring others in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. We’re sharing their stories through a series of blog posts; 2018 Ambassador Features.  Here is one of their stories. 

 

Emily’s Story

 

Ever since I was young, I played soccer. It was my sport, but throughout the elementary and middle school years, I’d run 5Ks with my dad, including a few 500 Festival 5Ks. My dad has been a runner for years. He has run the New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and the Indy Mini multiple times. I was destined to run the Mini-Marathon sooner or later. Freshman year of high school, I decided that I wanted to athletically challenge myself beyond soccer, by running a half marathon.

 

My dad signed us up for the Indy Mini. Training was tough, especially with a rigorous school and travel soccer schedule. Through training and my first race, it was all worth it, and I knew that I wanted to be a runner. Since my first race in 2013, my dad and I have run five Mini-Marathons and the Walt Disney Full Marathon. Over the years, the Indy Mini has become more than a race to me. It’s been a way for my dad and me to do something we both love, together. We’ve bonded over the struggles and joys of running (blisters, chaffing, and free bananas), pushed each other to become better athletes and strengthened our father-daughter relationship. The Indy Mini has become a yearly tradition for the two of us and I can’t wait to run my sixth Mini-Marathon with him this May!

 

Emily’s #IndyMini Experience

 

My favorite part about the Indy Mini is running around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and kissing the bricks. It’s surreal to be able to run around such an iconic part of Indianapolis history. What always stands out to me is the support from the community. During the race, there are hundreds of volunteers handing out water, cheering you on and providing awesome entertainment for the whole 13.1 miles. The last leg of the race always gives me goosebumps because complete strangers are cheering you on by name. It provides a whole new meaning to the term “Hoosier hospitality!”

 

Emily’s Advice

 

Enjoy yourself! I know it can be hard when you’re running 13.1 miles, but try your best to have fun. Give spectators high fives. Kiss the bricks. Take it all in. Not everyone can participate in the Greatest Spectacle in Running, so take pride in the opportunity!

 

Feeling inspired by Emily’s story? If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, click here

 

Emily, along with our other Ambassadors, will be sharing her training experience and motivation leading up to the race. Follow along and share your experience using #IndyMini on social media!