Fun Activities for Kids at the 500 Festival mini-mini

The 500 Festival mini-mini is about to send thousands of little runners (ages 5-12) around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time. This annual late-summer tradition is quickly becoming one of the largest and most iconic kids’ runs in the country! But just like the Indianapolis 500, there’s more to do at the track than watch racing.


Check out the list of fun activities waiting for families and kids of all ages at IMS on August 26.


  • Spin Paint Bikes (PNC)
  • Obstacle Course (Anthem)
  • Putting Green (AON)
  • TBD (Crowe)
  • Water Game: Duck Pond Matching (Kids’ Voice of Indiana)
  • Exercise Stations (JackRabbit)
  • Golf Interactives (TopGolf)
  • Wellness Activity (Girls on the Run)
  • Prize Wheel Matching Game (Outrun the Sun)
  • TBD (Aqua-tots)
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics Moves and Team Demos (DeVeau’s Gymnastics)
  • Ball Hockey (Hockey’s My Sport)
  • Giant Jenga (Ainsley’s Angels)
  • Spin Wheel for Fitness (Athletic Annex)
  • Inflatable slide, race track and obstacle course (500 Festival Fun Zone)


Kids can also get their faces painted, jump around on the inflatables in the 500 Festival Fun Zone, and even meet Indiana Pacers’ mascot Boomer!


Registration for the 500 Festival mini-mini is just $15 when you register online by Thursday, August 23. Register today and bring the family back to IMS this summer!

Tag Weekend | 500 Festival mini-mini

We’re less than one month away from the 500 Festival mini-mini kids run, and it’s tag weekend!


Check out the recently revealed shirts and medals!


Tag someone you know with kids between the ages of 5-12 who would love a chance to burn rubber at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, August 26. On Monday morning (July 30), we’ll give away a FREE REGISTRATION chose at random for the 2018 500 Festival mini-mini.


Why are we playing tag? There are no age limits for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon; our historic annual tradition that kicks off the month of May. However, kids between the ages of 5-12 might not have their own social media accounts (maybe we’re wrong there). Point is – we need your help to find all the little runners we can pack into IMS this August!


So jump on the social media post where you saw this game and tag away!


Have kids of your own? Register them for the 500 Festival mini-mini and start training before summer ends!

A Mother-Daughter Indy Mini Tradition

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.


Register for the mini-mini 

500 Festival mini-mini Training: Distance Running Tips for Kids

The anticipation of the 500 Festival mini-mini is building again in 2018! As we get closer to the big race, hundreds of participants are already signed up and ready to run. No matter your mini runner’s distance of choice, here are a few distance running tips for kids to get ready for the big day.


Make a Plan

There are guidelines and safety measures on how to complete activities properly and within reason, like a pitch count in baseball, how to head a soccer ball, or tackle correctly in football. For kids, no such parameters are set for running, meaning there is little to help you guide your mini runner through realistic training programs.


The simple solution? Make a plan specific to them and get active.


Start Easy

We’ve seen kids conquer the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon at age 13, and it’s been recorded that children as young as 7 have completed full marathons. The result of taking on those distances at a young age can be hit or miss, but we suggest starting a bit smaller.


Train Smart

Make sure they listen to their bodies. The summer heat can be tricky and make it difficult to manage pace and stamina. Never push them too hard and always remember to stay hydrated.


Eat Healthy

The more they run, the hungrier they’re going to get. And that can be a great way to get them eating right! When they’re ready to eat just about anything after a long run, put the healthy stuff in front of them.


Run at Your Own Pace

All kids develop at a different rate, so don’t get caught up in comparing your mini runner’s abilities to other kids their age. Let them go at their own pace!


Make it Fun

Finding ways to make running fun can be the biggest thing that makes or breaks a young runner’s passion for the sport. Having friends to run with or goals to achieve – like the 500 Festival mini-mini – can fuel their competitive future as a runner.


Whatever their age, ability, or passion, get them excited about running at the 500 Festival mini-mini on August 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Nothing gets kids more excited to run than t-shirts, medals, and cheering fans at the world’s largest sports venue.





500 Festival mini-mini Training: Beating the Heat

Summer 2018 is an ongoing heat wave. Most people love the warm weather, but there comes a point when it starts to get uncomfortable. And that point is here.


With the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon held annually in early May, most of your Indy Mini training takes place through the late winter and spring conditions – a usually unpredictable but fun time to train.


For your little runners preparing for the 500 Festival mini-mini in August,  the weather conditions can take over at times. They’re not training for 13.1 miles, but they need to be ready for the summer heat at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Here are a few tips to help them beat the heat and stay safe through their summer running, or any outdoor summer activities!


  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after running or playing.
  • Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing (not black or dark colors).
  • Find shaded areas to run and play. They can cool you down as much as 10-15 degrees.
  • Make sure they listen to their bodies. Tell them not to be a hero!
  • Foods that fight the muscle cramps – Things like bananas, watermelon, and celery are great food sources that combat dehydration. Surprisingly, things like beans and sweet potatoes are, too!
  • Limit extended periods of time outdoors. Run or play in 15-20 minute increments with sufficient break times.
  • The cool down: Find a pool, a hose, sprinklers, or any way to cool off after! A quick cool down of your body temperature is super important, but also fun after breaking a sweat.


Most importantly, get them training for The Greatest Spectacle in (Kids) Running at the 500 Festival mini-mini at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 26! Register today for just $15!

5 Reasons to Start Running With Your Kids

We all know good habits are formed early. Teaching your kids to eat healthy and be active are some obvious Parenting 101 lessons, but you can make some of those habits stick by encouraging a love for running.


As adults, getting up out of the desk chair and finding your way back into running can be an uphill climb. For kids, it’s a much shorter hill. They can push you to get moving while you can help them develop a passion for running.


Here are five reasons to start running with your kids and start bonding over a goal for healthier lives.


  1. Running is Affordable

A pair of shoes, some shorts, and a t-shirt are all that’s needed to get started! The equipment needs for a young runner are minimal compared to sports like football, golf, or lacrosse. Much like tossing a ball or playing a game, running can be just as fun at a fraction of the cost.


2. Running is Easy

Okay, so it’s not always easy. In fact, the point of running is to push yourself. We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s like a walk in the park.” Start there! Go for a walk in the park. Then a jog. Then a run. Next thing you know, you and your children are signing up for races and challenging each other to faster times, medals, shirts, and competition.


3. Running is Fun

Don’t think running is all that fun for adults? Add an energetic sidekick and watch that mindset change. In addition, they’ll be sure to fall asleep quicker that night. BONUS!


4. Running is Everywhere

Running has no boundaries. It’s not confined to lines on a field or a court. No need for nets, hoops, or field goal posts. Find a new trail, road, or park and watch your kids use running to explore the world.


5. Running Partners Keep Each Other Accountable

Have fun running and watch your little runner become your accountability partner. You’ll want to see them succeed, and on the days you don’t feel like running, they’ll motivate you to get moving, too.


Get your running sidekick started on a running kick this summer with the 500 Festival mini-mini on August 26, or learn more about all of the 500 Festival’s running events for kids, here.

These 5 Things Are Guaranteed Fun at the 500 Festival mini-mini

The 500 Festival mini-mini is an event unlike any other. With thousands of kids (ages 5-12) gearing up to run on the world’s largest racetrack (the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), there’s no kids run quite like it. But this event is much more than just a race on the iconic Speedway. There’s a full day of fun to experience, and these 5 things at the 2018 500 Festival mini-mini will guarantee your mini-mini runner has a blast on August 26.


1. Games Galore

With obstacle courses, inflatable games, and more, there’s plenty of fun to be found before or after your mini-mini runner’s race.


2. Glamorous Gear

Each mini-mini runner receives a shirt and finisher’s medal, but competition is still part of the day. The top 3 boy and girl finishers in each age group will take home trophies, too!


3. Phenomenal Photo Ops

Your mini-mini runner will have photos to remember forever. Pose with the wreath and the milk at Victory Circle, kiss the Yard of Bricks, or stand proudly in front of the Pagoda!


4. Fantastic Food

Numerous food trucks and food vendors will line the Plaza at IMS. What’s a day at the track without some fantastic food?


5. Racing to Remember

They might run a lot of races during their childhood, but this is one racetrack they’ll always remember.


Registration for the 500 Festival mini-mini is just $15 and includes a shirt and finisher’s medal. Five distances from .5 miles to 2.5 miles are available for any and all abilities. Click here to register!

See you at the track on August 26!


500 Festival mini-mini Recap & Results

Some broke records. Some ran their first race. Some just came for the games. It’s hard to judge how the cars will run on a hot day, but there’s no better way to end summer than how it began; with a celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


The 2nd annual 500 Festival mini-mini was another spectacular event. Watching thousands of kids conquer the largest racetrack in the world is quite a special sight, but it’s the lasting impression of a passion for running that really gets us excited. We hope you and your mini runners enjoyed the race, and we hope to see all of those future mini-marathoners conquer 13.1 miles in just a few short years.


If you’ve ever run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, your race registration helps the 500 Festival produce it’s youth and fitness programs, including the mini-mini. Thank you for joining us at the track and helping further our mission of getting kids active!


To view results for the 2017 mini-mini, click here.



22 Fun Kids Activities at the mini-mini


You pack up the van after Sunday lunch and haul the family out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 500 Festival mini-mini. Your mini runner speeds around the track, collects his/her hardware and poses for photos you can proudly share with the world. An amazing and memorable experience for a young runner, but it happens so fast.

For parents, we know packing up the whole crew can be a big ordeal. Some have more than one runner, or maybe your children aren’t in the 5-12 age range for running the mini-mini. If you’re going to take a Sunday afternoon to watch junior run wild for a mile or two, it needs to be worth it for the whole family.

Fortunately, there’s a long list (and it keeps growing) of fun kids activities at the mini-mini Celebration Zone where the under-aged, the non-runners, and the future marathoners can celebrate and have fun before and after the race.

From kids martial arts and gymnastics to soccer and other games, prizes and giveaways, there’s something fun for everyone! Even free milk from American Dairy (Winners Drink Milk, remember?) Here’s the list of all Celebration Zone activities and fun sponsor stations to visit when you’re at IMS next weekend.

  • IMS Museum Bus
  • Pacers Fan Van
  • 5280 Bistro Food Truck
  • GiGi’s Cupcakes
  • NY Slice
  • PNC
  • Anthem
  • AON
  • Crouching Tigers (Martial Arts)
  • DeVeau’s Gymnastics
  • Boy Scouts
  • Kiss the Bricks photo op
  • Runners Forum
  • Mile Markings
  • YMCA
  • Athletic Annex
  • 500 Festival Youth Programs
  • Children’s Museum
  • Purdue 4H Soccer Field
  • American Dairy Chocolate Milk
  • Energy Krazed
  • Powerade

Pre-registration ($15) for the 500 Festival mini-mini close Tuesday, September 12 at Midnight. Onsite registration is available for $20.

Like Mother, Like Mini


You may have seen LeAnne Manuel at 500 Festival running events. You might recognize her from her inspirational social media presence.

LeAnne’s story is incredible. Her love for running changed her life and she’s now lost 165 pounds since 2015.

“The Indy Mini is my home race,” LeAnne said. “The energy of the crowd, running through the streets I grew up on, and being part of the Indianapolis 500 legacy are all factors that make this race so special to me. I feel like the support of the other runners, walkers, and spectators really carried me to the finish line. The Indy Mini changed my life.”

With her life-changing passion for running, LeAnne ran over six half marathons in her first year, each giving her more strength and confidence in herself. She knows the importance of the sport, and that’s why she’s passing it on.

“Running is a lifelong sport,” LeAnne said. “I really believe developing a love for running is something that can keep my kids fit and active for their entire lives.”

LeAnne’s daughter, Hannah, now 13 years old, has watched her mother’s transformation over the past few years. When the 500 Festival mini-mini was introduced in 2016 – a shortened version of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon for kids at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – hundreds of young runners just like Hannah were excited to run at the track just like mom.

“We had such a great time at the mini-mini last year,” LeAnne added. “We are a family who runs for fun and fitness. We got to spend the day enjoying the different activities that were set up. Michelle and I made signs to cheer Hannah on during her race. It was just a great atmosphere for all involved.”

Hannah, then 12 years old, was in the top age group for the mini-mini. It was the first race where she ever received a medal. image1(19)

In the last year, she’s garnered numerous other race medals as she begins to take after mom, and one particularly special one – her first Indy Mini medal in 2017.

Hannah is too old for the mini-mini now, but it’s where her Indy Mini tradition first began. With the track, the bricks, the medals and shirts, the mini-mini is everything you love about the Mini-Marathon in miniature runner form.

“The kids faces light up as their parents cheer them on. You can make fun signs to hold up as they pass you going over the bricks. It’s just so much fun, and it is step one in fostering a love for running. You never know. Next year, they could end up running the Indy Mini with you like Hannah did!”

Learn more about the 500 Festival mini-mini