Apply to be a 2020 Indy Mini Ambassador!

Indy Mini Ambassadors are some of the most loyal participants of our race. A mix of runners and walkers, Ambassadors train, inspire, recruit, and help others get excited about the Indy Mini as they introduce them to the fun of running and walking throughout the spring. Now is your opportunity to partake in this exciting opportunity!

But don’t just take our word from it; hear from some of our awesome ambassadors over the years what their favorite part of the program was:

Lisha (2019)- My favorite thing about being an Ambassador hands down was all the amazing people I have met! From fellow ambassadors to past ambassadors and the 500 Festival staff!! I also met some other inspiring runners just from being active as an ambassador. Nothing beats showing up to races around Indiana and seeing friendly faces that I’ve met from this experience!

April (2018)- The people I met through my time being an ambassador have become like family. Being an ambassador changed my life and gave me more confidence to step out of my comfort zone. The people I was surrounded by helped push me to be a better runner and a better person.

Kirstin (2019)- My favorite thing was sharing the race with others! My mother and aunt even flew in from New Jersey to do their first ever 5k because I was an ambassador!

Jenny (2018, 2019)- Such an amazing experience all around. Representing the absolute, hands-down best half marathon around was such a wonderful opportunity! If I have to pick one thing, it’s the amazing people you meet! Such an amazing opportunity to represent such an amazing race and all the wonderful people I met along the way.

Kevin (2019)- I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Ambassador family and all of the group activities together. I enjoyed the chance to spread the excitement of the Greatest Spectacle in Running and recruit first timers and veterans alike.

Scott (2016)- Getting to meet new people from around the state. Also, getting my picture taken with Meb!

Kyle (2018)- It allowed me to be active in my community through volunteering. I LOVED meeting the people I met through my time as an ambassador. It allowed me to invite friends and family to fun events through 500 Festival and see the smiling faces by those enjoying their time and achieving personal goals!

Danielle (2018, 2019)- Hands down 2018 holds my heart and it helped me build into the 2019 ambassador year. Each year was great in its own way. I met so many amazing individuals within the running community, meeting others along the way of their journey and helping pull them through. The outreach we were able to do with volunteering in the community and the organization just made my love for 500 Festival grow that much more.

Emily (2018)- The program helped me turn my health around, I met so many awesome people, and I was able to encourage so many of my friends to sign up and get involved through running and volunteering!

Monica (2018)- I met some wonderful people that still inspire and motivate me. I also loved encouraging/ inspiring my friends and family to sign up and complete something they didn’t think they could originally do.

Cindy (2019)- I met so many wonderful people by being an ambassador. It was fun interacting with my fellow ambassadors as well as former ones. I was also able to get more involved with the running community. But most importantly, you all made my very first Indy Mini experience one I will never forget.

Sheehan (2018)- I loved meeting so many amazing friends and encouraging / supportive people all working towards common goals in getting the community out there for the Indy Mini! Ultimately creating a healthier community!

Rob (2019)- I enjoyed meeting all the wonderful people and being inspired by all of them in one way or another. Looking forward to continued interaction with ambassador alumni now that our term is finished.

Mark (2016)- I was part of the original 13 ambassadors. Chatting with Frank Shorter was very special. Wearing the Mini Ambassador shirt during the races or trading runs leading up to the Mini was also pretty cool. 😎

Applications to be an Indy Mini Ambassador are now open! The deadline to apply is August 26 at 11:59 pm ET. Learn more about the program, including requirements, here. Good luck!

Happy Global Running Day!

The 500 Festival would like to wish all the runners around the world a Happy Global Running Day! We are home to enriching the lives of Hoosiers through several running events for our community. Keeping our community aware of being healthy and fit is why we continue to construct events such as the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the 500 Festival mini-mini and the Salesforce JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run.

To celebrate, our interns took some fun running spirit to the canal of downtown Indy to cheer on runners and promotes the benefits of running. These runners didn’t let the cloudy skies stop their workouts!

Check out some fun facts and pictures of our celebration below!

Chrissy Casserie, intern

Fun Facts!

  • Running can reduce your chance of heart disease by 30%
  • The Indy Mini has over 35,000 participants each year!
  • The fastest runner in the world is Usain Bolt.
  • Running can increase a person’s concentration levels.
  • 60% of runners listen to music during their run
  • Women made up 56% of all 15.5 million race finishers in 2012, according to Running USA.
Canal Runner

Kids also can participate in running as well at this year’s 500 Festival mini-mni. To find out more information or to register your kid, visit

Spontaneous Combustion Band- 2019 Course Entertainment Winners!

Nearly 70 groups performed for participants of the 2019 Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K and OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 4. While they all motivated participants, one was voted the fan favorite: The Spontaneous Combustion Band!

Based out of Danville, Indiana, Spontaneous Combustion was formed on July 4, 2013. They primarily play classic rock with a mix of country music, and are influenced by AC/DC, Van Halen, Garth Brooks, Elvis and everything in between.

Learn more about the band:

Booking information: Eric Disbro 317-332-0144

13 Point 1 Things to Look for During the Indy Mini!

Tips from 9-time finisher and 3-time ambassador, Chris Day

1) Indy Mini Expo – Come early and stay late!  In addition to picking up your bib and shirt, take the time to browse the many vendors and collect all the great freebies throughout!

2) Race Morning Prerace Festivities – Come early, it’s a party in the street with 40,000 new friends!  Get to your corral early and enjoy the festivities!  How many beach balls can you hit?

3) The start line – Don’t forget to start your watch, but then look up!  Who’s that celebrity in the bucket overhead waving the green flag this year?  Then look to your right and SMILE for the cameraman – You’re now on the jumbotron!!

4) The Indianapolis Zoo is on your right during mile 1 – If you’re lucky you can catch a glimpse of the elephants on top of the hill!

5) Play that funky music!  While you still have all this energy, be sure to cheer for the on course entertainment.  Sing, clap, cheer and grab a high five from these folks as you pass by! 

6) Speedway – The town…not the track – You’ll find mile 5 on Speedway’s charming Main Street which greets you with revitalized streetscapes and a booming downtown.  You won’t get this kind of crowd support again until the finish line.

6) IMS Entrance Tunnel – The steepest downhill of the course lasts 20 seconds and is followed by the steepest uphill on the course as you enter the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway!  It’s such a little thing, but get those roller coaster arms in the air and hear the echo of your cheers before you dig deep to push up the steep incline.  The best is yet to come!

7) The Gold Mile – A new and powerful section along the back stretch of IMS pays tribute to the men and women of Indiana who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.   Smile as you reflect on how lucky you are to be doing what you’re doing in that moment.

8) Yard of Bricks – The tradition for the winner of the Indianapolis 500 to kiss the bricks is passed on to you!  Stop and take your turn and smile for the camera man over head. 

9) Celebrity Sighting! – As long as you’re taking a break 7.5 miles in, why not stop and say hello to Channel 13s Dave Calabro and running legend Frank Shorter who broadcast live from this location throughout the morning?  Don’t be afraid to take the selfie!

 10) The Volunteers – From start to finish the race couldn’t happen without these men, women, children and public servants who gave up their Saturday morning to help you reach your goal!  Don’t forget to thank them!

11) Victory Mile – That last mile may feel like a long one, but it’s no longer than each of the previous 12.  Keep your head up and keep smiling.  The IUPUI track and field stadium is on your right where the Indy Eleven play their soccer matches, followed by the world class natatorium where Olympic swimmers and divers have competed for years. 

12) The FINISH Line!  SMILE!  You did it!  The pain is temporary but that finisher photo will last forever.  Arms overhead in the powerful “V” pose!  Now go get the medal and get an official finisher photo!  Oh, and don’t forget that free banana… you earned it!

13) Post Race Party – Whether your post race party includes Michelob Ultra or Chocolate Milk, this is where you’ll find it!  Reconnect with your friends and family and retell the battle stories of your epic morning!

Point 1) SHARE – If you didn’t post it on social media, did it really happen??  Don’t forget to use the hashtag #IndyMini – and while you’re inspiring others, make that commitment to join us again in 2020! 

My Mini Story- Bob Craw

Bob Craw of Louisville, Ky., is an Army Veteran who wanted to get his health back under control after he suffered with his weight for most of his adult life. Bob’s weight was beginning to affect him emotionally, physically and mentally. He tried various methods to lose weight but nothing seemed to work for him and after a while he began losing hope but, he did not give up. Bob began walking and then advanced to jogging and running during his workouts. Later in 2016, Bob took a leap of faith and he decided to participate in the Derby Festival Mini, a half marathon located in his hometown, Louisville, Ky. He completed the entire race without any pain with a time of 3:07.

Completing the Mini had opened a new door for Bob and he continued to run, starting with 1.5 miles and reaching three and four miles after a while. After picking up more races, Bob noticed the weight shed and by the end of 2015, he weighed under 250 pounds for the first time in several years. He lost an incredible total of 75 pounds by 2016. Also by this time, he completed four full marathons and several short distance races. This year, Bob will be participating in the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon along with thousands of others who also run for a greater purpose. This year’s Mini will be his seventh half marathon and he has set the goal to beat the time 2:07. By sharing his story of how running changed his health for the better, Bob hopes to continue to encourage others to make positive changes in their own lives.

Join Bob on May 4 for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon! Register online at Online registration will close at 12:01 am ET on April 29 so don’t delay!

Meet Kirstin Maguire- 2019 #IndyMini Ambassador

Name: Kirstin Maguire
City/Town: Columbus, Indiana
First year of #IndyMini: 2016


Q: What is your favorite #IndyMini memory?

2017 I got to have a total fan girl moment on the Indy 500 track by high fiving Meb Keflezighi and wishing him a happy birthday.


Q: Who or what motivates you the most during training?

Having registered for a big race like the Mini, then following a training plan. I’m pretty disciplined once I have a goal.


Q: What advice do you have for people considering running the #IndyMini for the first time?

First sign up, just do it. That provides the motivation to train. Train for the race , so on race day you can do what you trained to do, enjoy the course, crowds and that amazing finish line!


Q: What’s your favorite song to listen to when running?

Glorious by Macklemore
“So when I leave here on this earth, did I take more than I gave?
Did I look out for the people or did I do it all for fame?”.


Q: If you were stranded on an island (and had everything necessary to survive), which three items would you also like to have with you?

My foam roller, running shoes and a fine Kentucky bourbon.


Make 2019 your best year yet! Register now for the #IndyMini.

#IndyMini Terms

Whether it’s your first half marathon or just your first Indy Mini, here’s a helpful glossary of terms to help you prepare for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon!

Carbo-loading: A strategy used by endurance athletes, such as runners, to maximize the storage of glycogen (or energy) in the muscles and liver. Your dinner before the Indy Mini should be light but carb heavy.

Image result for office carbo load gif

Chip Time: Chip time will represent your personal finish time from when you cross the start and finish lines. Age group awards use chip times.

Corral: A sectioned area at the lineup of a race that separates participants into their different pace groups. There are 4-6 corrals in each wave and are labeled A-Z, with A being the fastest. Corral assignments will be sent with your participant guide in mid-April. Once you’ve been assigned a corral, you can only move back to a slower pace, you won’t be able to move forward to a faster pace.

Course entertainment: Bands, musicians and performers line the Indy Mini course to provide you with entertainment and motivation through the 13.1-mile course!

Gold Mile: The Gold Mile pays tribute to fallen service members and their surviving families (Gold Star Families). This motivational, mile-long segment of the Indy Mini course features patriotic décor and hundreds of volunteers lining Mile 6 at the backstretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, offering participants encouragement at the toughest peak of the course.

Gun time: Gun timing starts the race clock for everyone at the initial pistol shot. Regardless of when you actually crossed the starting line, the time from pistol shot to finish line will be your official time. Overall awards are based on gun time.

Kiss the bricks: The tradition of “kissing the bricks” was started by NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett. After his Brickyard 400 victory in 1996, Jarrett and crew chief Todd Parrott decided to walk out to the start-finish line, kneel and kiss the Yard of Bricks to pay tribute to the fabled history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indy Mini participants often stop to take part in this tradition as they cross the yard of bricks inside IMS.

Long Run: The weekly mileage buildup, the most important run of the week consisting of 25-30% of your weekly mileage, which can range from 4-14 miles typically for an Indy Mini training program.

MPM: Minutes per mile

Pace: The speed you’re running which is determined by mile and/or by milestone for longer running events.

Pit Station: Our water stations with a little Indy 500 flair! There are 11 water and five Gatorade Endurance Formula stations along the course and at the start and finish lines.

Proof Time: Your official time from another running event 5K and over that proves you can run at a pace estimated for the Indy Mini. For our race, proof time must show you can complete it in 2 hours or less.

Runner Services: At the finish line you’ll receive bananas, cookies and water from our volunteers to immediately refuel after conquering the 13.1 miles of the Indy Mini!

Seeding: For the Indy Mini, you qualify for seeding (placement) in Wave 1 if you have proof that you can run the Indy Mini in 2 hours or less.

Timing Chip: A device on your bib that measures your time as you cross the electronic mat at the start and finish lines, as well as other places along the course.

Image result for indy mini gif

Wave: A smaller group of runners starting at different times to stretch the field out. You’ll be assigned a wave based on A wave start helps eliminate a bottleneck at the beginning of the race (and traffic congestion throughout!) There are 5 waves for the Indy Mini.

Meet Morgan Shiflett- #2019 IndyMini Ambassador

Name: Morgan Shiflett
City/Town: Indianapolis, Indiana
First year of #IndyMini: 2017

Q: What is your favorite #IndyMini memory?

My favorite #IndyMini memory is running the race with one of my best friends and celebrating afterwards!

Q: Who or what motivates you the most during training?

Sticking to a plan and enjoying every single run is what motivates me the most.

Q: What advice do you have for people considering running the #IndyMini for the first time?

You will have good and bad training runs, appreciate the bad runs more than the good. Training for your first mini marathon is a great challenge that helps you focus on doing something good for yourself and ultimately is such a rewarding journey.

Q: What’s your favorite song to listen to when running?

The Middle by Zedd.

Q: If you were stranded on an island (and had everything necessary to survive), which three items would you also like to have with you?

Someone I loved, workout clothes and a good book!

Make 2019 your best year yet! Register now for the #IndyMini

The First Timer’s Guide to the Indy Mini- Ambassador Guest Blog

The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is great for first-time half marathoners. There’s a reason why people return to the #IndyMini year after year: it’s flat, fast and FUN! Sometimes you need a little more than that to convince you to do your first #IndyMini. 2019 Ambassador Kirstin Maguire has some tips just for first timers!

1) SIGN UP: People tend to delay signing up because they want to see how their training progresses or what’s going on in their life.  Don’t delay! Commit yourself to the goal and get signed up as soon as you can. You’ll begin to feel like you’re part of something larger than just you and progression toward your goal will inspire you and others.  


2) TRAINING DOES NOT HAVE TO RUIN YOUR LIFE (but there will be some sacrifices): There are many flavors of training plans, some plans keep the running steady, some  plans increase miles, then decrease miles. There are interesting terms like speed work, intervals, run/walk and fartlek (excuse me?).  Find one that works with your life! My favorite training plan is for people who work Monday through Friday, my long runs (walks in my case) are on the weekends.   This means I almost always hit my training plan. Whatever training plan you are using, it has a pattern to that will require you to make adjustments to fit your schedule. For example, if your plan schedules 8 miles on a day you’re going to be in a car on a road trip, dividing the miles up to add 2 miles to the other days is not the same intention.  The 8 miles was your long push for the week, so it’ll be better to move the whole 8 miles to another day. Flexibility and planning ahead will help you stay on track of your plan! 


3)TRAIN HARD; RECOVER HARDER: That’s my motto.  If you are feeling tired and in pain from your last run when it’s time for your next run, you’re less likely to hit your training plan.   Self-care such as enough sleep, eating right and cross training appropriately will all help. Foam rolling can help you with sore muscles since they can work through tricky areas like IT bands.  Start with a smooth solid roller if you are a first timer. Dropping the truth here, I cry when I roll, especially my IT bands. I roll immediately after a run before doing anything else, stop, drop, roll!  It helps with the soreness and aches and pains. My running squad also recommends Epsom salt baths as another remedy against sore muscles.


4) INVEST IN TRAINING: Running can be a cheap sport or an expensive sport, depending on the individual’s needs and wants.  If weather is hampering your training, you may need a treadmill at home or to join the local gym.  Shoes are very important, especially when you’re starting to run longer distances. Make sure to pick your race day shows at least 6 weeks before, you don’t want to breaking in your new shoes at IMS!  I’ve mentioned that foam roller above, the gym may have them or you can find them fairly cheap in discount stores.


5) MOTIVATION: There’s a meme on social media that says “How do you know someone is training for a half marathon?   Don’t worry they will post it constantly on Facebook!” This is very true. Posting on social media helps with accountability and being part of groups on social media where others are posting means you will be more motivated to get out there and get great tips.  You don’t need to post if you don’t feel comfortable, but online groups can be very helpful. Find a group you like on Facebook like the Indy Mini First Timers or follow people on Instagram for inspiration. Find what works best for you; if you don’t like the group or they don’t embrace your values, then that’s just not a fit for you.  And that’s OK! As a walker, I want to be around others that are supportive and welcoming. Hanging a giant wall calendar helps with your visual tracking or moving beads from jar to jar to count miles are other ideas to help motivate you.  One of my big motivators is to create a rewards plan for myself. Say when I hit 100 training miles I’m getting new socks! Write it up in advance.


6) BUILD YOUR MENTAL GAME: If your mind can believe it, your body can achieve it.  Visual yourself on race day: bib pinned on, training completed, corralled up, waiting on the wave of the green flag, entering into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, revering the Golden Mile, kissing the bricks, heading back downtown for that amazing finish line, looking up and seeing that clock, smiling in satisfaction as to how your plan worked out while a volunteer says congratulations and hands you your medal.  You have to remind yourself that you can do this and that your training proved you can do this. Run through your mental game during your training, when you want to quit, like on that first mile (why oh why is it always so hard?), remind yourself of your goal and all the hard things you’ve done in life and succeeded. Remind yourself that this person is not a quitter!


Still need to register? Sign up now at!

#IndyMini Social Runs and Meet Ups

Our partners at Michelob Ultra, Athletic Annex and Lindsey Hein (I’ll Have Another podcast) will be hosting a series of three social runs / meetups between now and April, specifically for people who are training for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon or 5K. Come out and log some miles and meet some of your fellow #IndyMini trainees. All paces are welcome!


The first meetup took place on February 21 in Broad Ripple. After the run, participants met at Brothers for a social hour complete with Michelob Ultra beer specials (for those over 21), #IndyMini giveaways, and product giveaways from Athletic Annex. 


The next two runs are scheduled for:
March 21, 6-8 pm: World of Beer
April 18, 6-8 pm: Sahm’s Ale House


If you would like to attend, please RSVP at the Facebook event. Join us for fun, fitness, and free giveaways, including #IndyMini registrations and beanies!


Don’t forget to share your pics from the events using #IndyMini!