Running and Walking While Social Distancing: Mental and Physical Health Benefits

As many of you know, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 500 Festival has suspended all in-person events through May 9, 2020. In accordance with the CDC’s recommendation to provide alternative options for all large events for the next 8 weeks, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K will now be taking place as virtual races.

In a time where social distancing has become the new normal, many of us have had to make extreme lifestyle changes. We are grateful for your understanding and for all participants who are taking part in the 500 Festival virtual races. Though this time is uncertain and unprecedented, staying focused and committed to your training can benefit both your mental and physical health. Social distancing can make your training look a little bit different, however, it is important to maintain healthy habits and stay committed to daily exercise such as running and walking.

Woman Lacing Up Her Gray and Pink Nike Low-top Athletic Shoe

Mental and physical health benefits to running and walking:

  1. Routine exercise leads to overall health, which in turn leads to maintaining a healthy immune system.
  2. Running and walking can boost mood by releasing endorphins, a chemical in the body that produces a euphoric feeling or “runner’s high.”
  3. Running and walking can also reduce stress and anxiety through the secretion of endorphins.
  4. Aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.
  5. Exercising outdoors clears your mind and keeps you active.
  6. Running and walking outdoors with exposure to the sun can also boost your Vitamin D levels, which is essential to the immune system to combat viruses. Though Vitamin D won’t prevent contracting a virus, it can help reduce the severity and benefit recovery.
  7. Running and walking benefit cardiovascular health and maintain weight control.
Person Jogging

Tips for training while social distancing:

  1. Bring tiny movements into everyday habits: do squats during TV commercials, do lunges while doing laundry, walk up and down the stairs, etc.
  2. Stretch your muscles a couple times a week. This is essential to maintain flexibility.
  3. When running and walking outdoors, still follow social distancing guidelines: give other runners their space, maintain a 6-foot distance, and avoid physical contact.
  4. Avoid extreme workouts as they may deplete your immune system.
  5. Stick to a routine.

As we work through this new normal, know that we are all in this together and we are cheering you on. Keep putting in the work and the miles, you deserve it!

Be a Virtual #IndyMini Spectator!

There will be more than the 30,000 participants missing from downtown Indianapolis race weekend this year. Spectators for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K energize the course as they cheer on participants and motivate them across the finish line! Just because we can’t be together in-person this year (we miss you already), we can still shout, stomp, clap, and cow bell for our awesome virtual participants! Here are a few fun and creative friends and family can do to support virtual participants:

  • Create Finisher Tape

Create your own finish line with paper or streamers! Grab a friend or family member. stand 6 feet apart and hold both ends for your racer to run, walk or wheel through. Check out what one of our virtual participants did for his finish line here.

  • Make motivational signs

Most people will agree that seeing spectator signs along the course definitely keeps them motivated to push on. Making signs and standing along your virtual participants’ route is a great way to get involved and encourage them during their race while still practicing social distancing! Need some inspiration? Here are some fun ideas.  Don’t forget to share your sign with us by using #IndyMini on social media!

  • Makeshift Water Stations

Keep your circle involved with your race, even while practicing social distancing! Ask neighbors to utilize mailboxes to place water bottles along the virtual course.

  • Upload a virtual cheer

Give a personal shout out to a specific participant or root for the whole crowd! Click here to submit a spectator sign or a video cheer.

  • Share virtual cheers on social media with #IndyMini

We’re all #INdyMini together! Root for all of the virtual OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K by posting encouraging messages on social media with the hashtag #IndyMini.

Help us cheer for the thousands of virtual OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K participants as they complete their own race. Share your creative solutions with us on social media by using #IndyMini. Thank you all for your support!

Honoring the Gold Mile Virtually

As a part of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the Gold Mile pays tribute to fallen service members and their families (Gold Star Families). The Gold Mile experience allows Indy Mini participants to celebrate the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and to connect with surviving family members of the fallen. An inspiring and motivational aspect of the IndyMini, we encourage virtual IndyMini participants to incorporate their own Gold Mile experience into their run or walk. One way participants can do this is by creating a route that passes war memorials. Below are some memorials and monuments across the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, and the United States: 


  • USS Indianapolis CA 35 Memorial, Indianapolis, IN: Walnut St. & Senate Ave., Central Canal Indianapolis, IN 46202; outdoor site open to the public  
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indianapolis, IN: 1 Monument Cir, Indianapolis, IN 46204; outdoor site open to the public  
  • Indiana World War Memorial and Museum, Indianapolis, IN: 55. E. Michigan St. 
    Indianapolis, IN 46204; indoor museum but may run/walk past outdoor 
  • American Legion Mall, Indianapolis, IN: 700 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204; outdoor site open to the public; assessible via Indianapolis Cultural Trail  
  • World War II Memorial, Indianapolis, IN: 700 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204; outdoor site open to the public 
  • Korean War Memorial, Indianapolis, IN: 700 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204; outdoor site open to the public 
  • Medal of Honor Memorial, Indianapolis, IN: 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204; outdoor site open to the public 
  • Veteran’s Memorial Plaza, Indianapolis, IN: 501 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46204; outdoor site open to the public   
  • Indiana 9/11 Memorial, Indianapolis, IN: 421 W Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN 46202; outdoor site open to the public 


  • Four Freedoms Monument, Evansville, IN: 201 SE Riverside Dr, Evansville, IN 47713; outdoor site open to the public  
  • Tippecanoe Battlefield Park, Battle Ground, IN: 200 Battleground Ave, Battle Ground, IN 47920; outdoor site open to the public  
  • George Rogers Clark National Historic Park, Vincennes, IN: 401 S 2nd St, Vincennes, IN 47591; temporarily closed  
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, Jeffersonville, IN: I-65, Louisville, KY 40202  

United States  

  • National Mall, Washington DC; National Mall and Memorial Park Grounds remain open but pedestrian traffic may be restricted in certain areas of the National Mall 
  • 9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007; Memorial temporarily closed  
  • Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, MO: 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108; temporarily closed through April 24  
  • Statue of Liberty, New York City, NY: Liberty Island New York, NY 10004; temporarily closed  
  • Bunker Hill Monument, Boston, MA: Monument Sq., Charlestown, MA 02129; temporarily closed 
  • Marine Corps Memorial, Arlington, VA: Arlington, VA 22209 
  • Air Force Memorial, Arlington, VA; 1 Air Force Memorial Dr, Arlington, VA 22204; open to pedestrian access only   
  • USS Chicago Anchor, Chicago, IL: Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL.; Navy Pier temporarily closed to the public through April 23 
  • National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, VA: 3 Overlord Cir, Bedford, VA 24523, temporarily closed until April 23 
  • National Memorial Arch, Valley Forge, PA: 420 Gulph Rd, King of Prussia, PA 19406; Valley Forge National Historical Park is temporarily closed 

Please note that recommendations from the CDC and local government mandates may prohibit some monuments from being open to the public. Please check with any site before visiting. 

You can also download a Gold Mile Bib to wear in honor of a fallen soldier during your race.

Share your virtual Gold Mile with us on social media by using #IndyMini and tagging the 500 Festival. Good luck and thank you for helping us honor the incredible sacrifices of our military.

How Does a Virtual Race Work?

Step 1 – Register

Visit to signup for Virtual Indy Mini or 5K

If you registered for the in-person event before March 18, you will need to select the “Virtual Race” on the 2020 Participant Options form that was emailed on March 19

Step 2 – Train. Connect. Inspire.

Accelerate towards your finish line goal and train for your virtual race. Share your training journey on social media and encourage fellow participants by tagging #IndyMini in all of your posts! Make sure to follow the 500 Festival on social media where we’ll share training inspiration, participant stories, and cheering you on every step of the way. You can connect with your fellow 2020 race participants by joining our private Facebook group.

Step 3 – Complete Your Race

Pick the day and time you want to complete your race. Then, run, walk, or wheel your race distance wherever you’d like – outside, on a treadmill, your neighborhood. Keep track of your run or walk using a watch, activity tracker or smartphone app. Don’t forget to download and customize your race bib!

Step 4 – Submit Your Results

Once you complete your race, visit the 2020 Indy Mini finisher webpage to submit your finish time and race recap. Don’t forget to share your race photos on social media and use the hashtag #IndyMini to inspire other participants!

Step 5 – 2020 Race Gear

You’ll receive your 2020 race shirt and finisher medal in July (after the race ends). Don’t forget to customize and download your finisher certificate at

Step 6 – Celebrate & Repeat

Savor every second of celebrating your race accomplishment! Your participation helps support the 500 Festival’s free fitness, health, and educational programs for 100,000+ Hoosier kids every year. Then, register for the 2021 Indy Mini and use your $10 discount we’ll send all virtual participants!

Kanaan’s Ways to May

The #IndyMini is almost here! We are thrilled to have IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan joining us to run the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Tony is no stranger to the Month of May or to the Indy Mini. He conquered the 13.1 miles in 2016 and served as the official Pacesetter in 2017, raising thousands of dollars for charity. One of IndyCar’s most popular drivers and an Indianapolis resident, Tony is excited to connect and commit with the Indianapolis community. 

“I’m excited to join in on the celebrations by running in America’s best half marathon – the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Not only is it a great way to stay physically fit, but gives me another opportunity to connect with fans. I’ve already recruited my wife, Lauren, and several friends to join me on May 2. I hope that fans will feel inspired and commit to join me at this Indy Mini!” 

Tony’s commitment to the Indy Mini is a great way for him, along with his family and friends, to stay fit.

With many health benefits, running can help athletes of all sports to stay in shape and perform their best.

  1. Cardiovascular health: Running ensures efficient flow of oxygen throughout the body to strengthen the heart and reduce the risk of heart attack.
  2. Weight control: Running is a leading way to burn calories, helping to lose or maintain a consistent weight. It also strengthens many muscles including muscles in the legs and core. 
  3. Stress relief: Running forces the body to exert excess hormones and energy to relieve stress, improve appetite, and sleep quality.
  4. Boost mood: The body secretes hormones that naturally improve mood when running. This can also help runners to feel more energized and focused.  

Join Tony in running the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 2! Registration is open for the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K.

It Runs in the Family

Taylor Tragesser is a 10-year-old from Morristown, Indiana and passionate runner. She’s getting ready to accomplish the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, her first half marathon. However, this certainly is not her first introduction to running. Taylor has been running with her father since she was a toddler. In fact, it is an activity her whole family of six participates in together. Even Taylor’s younger siblings, four-year-old Presley, seven-year-old Landon, and nine-year-old Chloe, enjoy running at the track with the family. Taylor competed in her first 5K at six years old, followed by her sister competing in her first at just three years old. Taylor’s mom, Ashley, says she and her husband let their kids run around the track as soon as they are old enough to walk.

Taylor will take on the Indy Mini on May 2 with her mom, dad, and sister. In addition to their training, the Tragesser family has a goal of running a total of 4,040 miles in the year 2020. So far, the family has completed 634 miles with Taylor completing 162 of those miles herself. Taylor loves running with her family as a fun way to stay healthy and spend time together. A friendly competition, Taylor hope to one day beat her dad as she comes closer and closer each year.

Taylor is also no stranger to competing against older runners. In fact, she competed on the Morristown Middle School cross country team last season as a fourth grader. Despite being the youngest member, Taylor was able to excel on the team. She received five first places and was voted most valuable runner. Taylor has also competed in the cross country Junior Olympics and ran at the Nationals competition in Wisconsin. She was recently named the 2019 USATF Junior Olympics Cross Country Indiana Athlete of the Year.

Taylor is most excited to share the memory of completing the Mini-Marathon with her family, who has been her motivation through her training. Her parents encourage Taylor and her siblings to do their best and challenge them to improve. Future goals for Taylor include running on her middle school, high school, and college teams. Taylor also hopes to one-day complete a full marathon. We can’t wait to cheer on Taylor and her family at the Indy Mini!

Join Taylor and her family at the start line on May 2! Register now for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K before online registration closes on April 27. More info:

Gearing up for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Team Trials

With the 2020 Olympic Games just a few months away, the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials will take place on February 29 in Atlanta, Georgia. Congratulations and good luck to the Indiana runners who have participated in #Indy Mini and qualified for the 2020 U.S Olympic Marathon Team Trials!

Andy Williams

Caleb Kerr

Jordan Kyle

Kelby Laughner

Sophie Seward

Visit our results page to see past Indy Mini results, which archive all the way back to 1994!

Registration for the 2020 One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is now open! Register now for the lowest possible rate before prices increase on March 1. See you in May!

Miles of Memories

Timothy Myers is creating lasting memories with his daughter as they train to conquer the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon together. Originally from LaPorte, Indiana, Timothy also called Indianapolis home for 5 years before moving to Saratoga, California. Timothy’s daughter, Corynn, also called Indianapolis home for several years before returning to LaPorte.

With Indianapolis still close to their hearts, the father, daughter duo decided to take on the Indy Mini together this May. Running a half marathon has been on Corynn’s bucket list since high school. In January 2019, she made the fearless decision to register for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Because Indianapolis holds so many happy memories and emotional ties for Corynn, a race in that city seemed like a perfect fit. That December, Corynn challenged her father to join her for the 2020 Indy Mini.

While living in Indianapolis, Timothy enjoyed running along the canal downtown. However, when he moved to California, he found it challenging to find time for running due to his busy work schedule. The hilly areas in California were also a challenge compared to the flat routes of the canal and the Indy area.

When challenged by his daughter to take on the Mini-Marathon, Timothy was skeptical because he had never ran more than three or four miles at a time. However, the unique opportunity of conquering the half marathon and crossing the finish line with his daughter conquered all fears.

Timothy and his daughter found a unique way to motivate each other whole training thousands of miles apart through a “Daddy Daughter Duo” challenge on the running app they use for training. Challenging other participants and keeping each other accountable is also a great way to stay motivated during training. Timothy’s goal is to try to stay ahead of his daughter’s miles throughout the challenge. 

After countless hours of training and preparation, Timothy is most looking forward to finishing and conquering this challenge with his daughter, complete with a photo at the finish line. He is thrilled to be able to create this memory that will last both he and his daughter a lifetime.

Join Timothy and Corynn on May 2 at the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon! Register now for our flat and fast half marathon before prices increase on March 1. Visit to learn more and sign up.

Are you an Indy Mini first timer? Join the 2020 #IndyMini First Timers Facebook group for a community full of supportive runners for you to ask questions and view running videos and articles from experienced runners.

From Race Fan to #IndyMini First Timer

Emily Ambriz is a proud Hoosier with a deep appreciation for Indiana traditions. Her father, an avid race fan, always instilled in his children a particular passion for the month of May by attending the IPL 500 Festival Parade and the Indianapolis 500. Some of her earliest memories during the parade include the Indianapolis Police Motorcycle Drill Team and waving to her favorite drivers including Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan.

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In 2016, her mother and stepfather ran the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon for the first time. Throughout the years, she has waited at the finish line for friends and volunteered for the race with various organizations. After supporting friends and family for years, Emily decided to take the leap of faith. As part of her commitment to herself in the new decade, as well as a 25th birthday gift to herself, Emily decided to register for the 2020 Indy Mini and the 500 Festival Miler Series, presented by OrthoIndy.

Emily’s motivation stems from her supportive friends and family who continue to hold her accountable to the goals she has put in place. Her best motivator, Emily’s mother, constantly pushes her to be her best self no matter what the circumstances. She is determined to finish this race for her.

As part of her training, Emily is participating in the 500 Festival Miler Series, presented by OrthoIndy. She recently completed the 3-Miler race held on February 9. Though the temperature and the course hills were a challenge, Emily enjoyed seeing so many people working toward the same goal. Her mother gave her some words of wisdom, to run her race and not the person’s next to her. A great reminder not only for Emily, but for all participants to value all of your training and to continue pushing yourself. Emily even hit a personal record!

Transitioning from supporter to  participant has been much harder than Emily had anticipated. Unpredictable weather and staying committed to training has shown challenges at times. However, the community she has found in preparation for the Indy Mini has been  helpful in overcoming any obstacle she faces.

Her advice to first time runners or walkers would be to do your research and continue to do it throughout your training. The 2020 #IndyMini First Timers Facebook group has been an excellent resource for Emily. A community full of supportive runners, it is the perfect resource for asking questions and viewing running videos and article from experienced runners. Emily has learned how to improve her times while avoiding injury, proper form, proper fuel for her body and the importance of proper recovery.

Take the leap of faith and join Emily at the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Register now at You can also join the 2020 #IndyMini First Timers Facebook group at HERE.

Fall in Love With The #IndyMini!

Love is in the air! Named America’s Best Half Marathon in The BibRave 100, there is a lot to love about the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

Check out some of the reasons why our 2020 #IndyMini Ambassadors love the #IndyMini!

Jenny Haynes: It’s the best half marathon around! Crowd support and entertainment 2nd to none!

April Woodruff: There is no other event that has so much excitement and energy as the Indy Mini! From the volunteers, to the participants, to the friends and family that line the course, you will feel motivated and inspired the entire 13.1 miles!

Lynn Buikema: It is so well organized, has great course entertainment and the city are my favorite pieces! It is, hands down, the BEST half marathon I’ve ever had the privilege to run!

Danielle Shively: Its ability to bring one large community together (runners, spectators, and volunteers), creating so much excitement for the Month of May. And most importantly, the impact of enriching and empowering others’ lives across the state of Indiana and beyond: life-long lasting bonds and memories.

Kali Chemelewski: It’s a day I look forward to, spending every year with my mom doing something we both love! Plus, the atmosphere is so fun and the accomplishment is so rewarding!

Jennifer Sheehan: It’s the place where I met some of my best running friends in a city where everyone cheers for everyone at races.

Kevin Anspach: The Indy Mini has the ability to bring people of all fitness levels from all over the country, and all over the world, to embrace the culture and excitement of the Month of May in Indianapolis. Whether you are a participant, volunteer, entertainer, or spectator, it is a fun, memorable event for everyone. My favorite memories each year is honoring the fallen during the Gold Mile.

Brad Chaney: The Indy Mini is my favorite because it is a great first half marathon for a lot of people. It offers a great crowd, amazing venue at the speedway and fantastic entertainment. It was my first half over 23 years ago and I loved being part of my son’s first half last year!

Shane Hillman: There is never a dull moment at the Indy Mini. And since I don’t know a stranger, 35,000 plus people is my kind of party!

Jason Ronna: I love it because it has given me a great group of lifelong friends. Although I had a heart attack while running it in 2018, it made me look at life in a whole different light. I became determined to overcome any obstacles in my way. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, that is true in my case.

Ryan McGlinchey: The Indy Mini is the best half marathon. It is exciting and really gets the hype for the Month of May started off right! Plus, I get to bond with my mom every year since we have been running it since I was 11.

Jeanette Payne: The Indy Mini is the race for everyone! You can be a highly experienced runner or a brand new to the sport runner and you get the same experience. Nothing beats the support!

Patti Soskel Hammerle: Not only is it iconic, but it’s one of the best organized races I’ve ever done. And you get to run around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

Kellie Adams: There’s an energy that is unlike any other. From the other racers, to the spectators, the entertainment, volunteers and race staff, you truly feel like you are part of something special, and you are. It’s my favorite day of the year.

Jamicka Edwards: It is the prelude to the Indy 500…I love that we ran the different neighborhoods, had so much entertainment from live music, DJs, dancers, and singing on the course. It’s just something special to say you’ve ran this race. I am the Fun Runner Girl, and this is why I LOVE the Indy Mini

Grab your Valentine and fall in love with the #IndyMini this May! You can register online now at Don’t miss your chance to conquer 13.1 miles with your loved ones before prices increase on March 1.