500 Festival mini-mini | A Mother-Daughter Tradition
Tinley wanted to be just like mom.
At seven years old, she dusted the field at a track meet and clocked in at 8:10 in the 1600 meters. The next week, her mother (April) ran an 8:05 in a mile-long race. At her next track meet, Tinley knew her time had come. She was finally old enough and fast enough to beat mom… 7:43.
“She told me she would beat my time,” April said. ” She was so excited to crush my mile PR.”
Tinley is now focused on improving her 5K time and she can’t wait to run 13.1 with her mom. That’s how this whole thing started for Tinley and the Woodruffs (dad runs, too). April’s first half marathon was the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, and it’s a guarantee that the Indy Mini will be Tinley’s first half, as well.
April has run the Indy Mini every year since Tinley was born, and there’s proof in the photos below.
“Tinley is a huge motivator to me,” said April. “Her dad brings her to each one of my races and they cheer for me along the course and at the finish. Seeing her pushes me to keep going even when I may be struggling.”
Their mother-daughter bond provides motivation in both directions. Tinley motivates April, sometimes riding her bike with her mom on longer runs, carrying her water and speeding ahead to make her catch up. April returns the favor at Tinley’s track meets, soccer games, and her own races.
And lucky for Tinley, she got to experience her own miniature version of mom’s Mini-Marathon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when she was just five years old. For a girl who wants to be just like mom, the 500 Festival mini-mini is step one, and an annual tradition of her own until she’s ready for 13.1.
Tinley’s favorite thing about the mini-mini is experiencing what the drivers feel when racing at the Speedway. She also loves competing against other kids and earning a medal and shirt just like her mom. She was one of the first kids registered for the 3rd year of the race in 2018, and she’s been training all summer.
April has been excited about the mini-mini since the event began in 2016. The different distance options, the Speedway, the bricks, and the chance to earn a medal like all of the Indy Mini runners makes it a special event for kids.
“It’s so well organized and it really makes the kids feel special. It is more than just a race; it is an event!”
A lot of people ask April if she forces Tinley to run. She doesn’t. You can’t force a seven-year-old to run a mile, but you can teach them how to love running by being an example. The two run together at least twice a week and they continue to share running memories that motivate them both.
“Over the years, Tinley has been at many races to watch me finish. She will often run out onto the course, grab my hand, and sprint to the finish line with me. The crowd cheers and claps for us and those moments are the moments that I will hold in my heart forever. I love that our family of three all share a love for running.”
Know a miniature runner who would love the high speeds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Share this story with them and join us at the track on August 26 for the 3rd annual 500 Festival mini-mini.