#IndyMini Ambassador Q&A: Matt Herald

Matt HeraldMattHerald


Q: How many Indy Minis have you run?

A: To date, I have completed four half marathons (two Indy Minis).  However, I have also completed a 16-mile trail run and a full marathon.


Q: Who or what inspires you to run?

A: I have a lot of inspiration!  In no particular order:

My doctor, who threatened to medicate me because of my high blood pressure.

My wife, who continuously compliments me on the muscles in my legs.

My kids, who look up to me and see what hard work can do.

My friends, who cannot believe that I have lost 65 pounds and look forward to my daily run!

New runners, who look at me and call me their inspiration.



Q: What is your favorite Mini memory or experience?

A: Crossing the finish line at my first mini-marathon (Indy Mini 2015) and knowing that only a few years prior, I was a lazy, overweight couch potato. But now, here I am completing 13.1 miles and was overjoyed at it!


Q: What advice would you give to someone running the Mini for their first time?

A: Focus on YOU!  Yes there are tons of runners out there, and yes, many of them run faster than you, but who cares? The only person you need to focus on being better than is you. If you finish a workout or a race and you can honestly tell yourself that you gave it your all, then you won! If you did not give it your all, then take the opportunity to see where you did not perform well and work on that on your next run. Your best, and worst, competition is the person that you were, yesterday.


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#IndyMini Ambassador Q&A: Marlo Neustifter

Marlo Neustifter


Q: How many Indy Minis have you run?

A: This Mini will be my fourth.  I’ve run in 14, 15, and 16.



Q: Who or what inspires you to run?

A: My grandmother and my father both died of heart failure before they were 60.  I started running as a heart healthy activity; to honor them and in hopes of making it past the 60 year old mark.


Q: What is your favorite Mini memory or experience?

A: My first half was the mini so that was AHMAZING!  I ran it alone in 2:32 on a statement I took as a dare. “You should run a half marathon”!   My original response was you are nuts, until someone else said:  “Why not?”  So, I took that as a dare and did it!

Last year was fun as well, I kept waiting to see Meb run by….and waiting…..and waiting until my sister said “oh weird, their is a whole group of people running by in neon”   While running, I’m straining my neck and head and see Meb, and his entourage already 100 feet in front of me.  LOL  My sister has no idea who Meb is.  But, I did catch a glimpse.


Q: What advice would you give to someone running the Mini for their first time?

A: My advice for every first time runner is to just sign up for the race.  Whether it be a 5,10,half or full.  Sign up for it!  I had never run a single day in my life before I turned 40, less than 3 years later I ran a half marathon because someone said I should.


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#IndyMini Ambassador Q&A: Danielle Williams

Danielle WilliamsDanielleWilliams


Q: How many Indy Minis have you ran?

A: Three (2013, 2014, 2016). I had to skip 2015 to have an ablation procedure to fix my heart’s tachycardia problem.


Q: Who or what inspires you to run?

A: So many people! My teenager is a beast! She works and trains so hard and I see all of her hard work pay off so it definitely makes me want to work a little harder. My husband, who I’ll probably never catch, but it’s a nice goal. I also get really motivated watching random strangers run. Watching people finish a half or a full marathon, I tend to pick out people of similar builds or with similar features and think, “Why am I not running that fast? Or that far?” Then new goals are set for myself!


Q: What is your favorite Mini memory or experience?

A: My first Mini was amazing! I had never run more than a 5K, which I actually walked a good portion of! I did some research on training and decided I might need way more time than suggested. I started training in September or October. My husband thought this was a crazy idea but decided he would run it, too. Neither of us knew much about the Mini. We had no idea that there would be a bazillion spectators lining the course and cheering for us. We had no idea that tons of kids would want to high five us. And the bands, and square dancers, cheer squads, amazing volunteers…..it’s a 13 mile-long party with thousands of friends! I was in awe!


Q: What advice would you give to someone running the Mini for their first time?

A: High five all the kids! Take in all the sights! Kiss the bricks! Take some pictures! Thank the cops and medics on the course! Enjoy the whole experience. Worry about covering the distance but don’t get too caught up in the time. And the most important thing; don’t try to run while drinking from water station cups. Choking while running is not fun! Walk!


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#IndyMini Ambassador Q&A: Andrea Farthing

Andrea Farthing


A now-avid runner and active member of the running community, Andrea also frequents the Disney race series, as shown in her photo.


Q: How many Indy Minis have you participated in?

A: This will be my sixth time running the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.


Q: Who or what inspires you to run?

A: I started running just to see if I could do the Mini-Marathon. I kept running for the health benefits. Running for fun is my main goal. I try to find fun in everything I do.


Q: What is your favorite Mini memory or experience?

A: In 2008, not only did I run my first #IndyMini, but it was also my first half marathon. Crossing the finish line for the first time was unforgettable. My husband and son were there cheering for me.


Q: What advice would you give to someone running the Mini for their first time?

A: Make sure to pace yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and run too fast in the first couple of miles. Save some of that energy to get you through all 13.1 miles.


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Fast February

PRBell Blog Photo 2

In 2017, February wasn’t what February is supposed to be here in Indiana. Average temperatures in the high 20s are the norm. Averages closer to 45 are what happened. And with the change in weather came a change in speed.

We opened up our spring season of running events with the 3-Miler – the first of our Miler Series races – and an amazing, high 50s February day ensued.

Don’t get me wrong, we expected some fast times. But we didn’t expect this…

The Miler Series is a training series. There are no awards (until your medal after the 10-Miler). There’s barely a pat on the back for our male and female winners. Your bibs keep track of your times and, frankly, we don’t care how fast or how slow you ran. The point is that you showed up, had fun, and committed to training for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May.

But we’re not you.

YOU do care how fast you ran. YOU want to push yourself to get better. And most of all, YOU want to ring that PR Bell after each and every race we run. And that’s what we didn’t quite expect:

Nearly 2000 participants were present on 3-Miler morning. Well over 200 of them waited patiently in line to ring the PR Bell like it was the newest attraction at Cedar Point. We assume even more had clocked a new PR, but simply weren’t willing to wait in line.

Being in a hurry on the course sometimes equates to being in a hurry off of it. We get it. Especially when the line was pushing a 20-minute wait from 9:40 am – 10:20 am.

However long or short that line is for the PR Bell, we loved seeing those faces light up when that bell rings.

The 6-Miler is March 11 at 9:00 am. Shred those old times and help us make March just as fast!

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#WhyIMini: Stacey & Anthony

Why do you Mini?

Everyone has a different reason. It could be to conquer 13.1 miles, to get back in shape, to run for a cause or simply see the city and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in all its glory.

Whatever your cause, it’s usually something personal.StaceyDraper2

Stacey Draper, a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Riley Children’s Hospital, runs the Mini for Anthony.

Draper, a resident of Avon, Ind., is a member of a global nonprofit organization called “I Run 4” that pairs able-bodied runners with children or adults with special needs.  The organization has 40,000 members in more than 24 countries.  Stacey has run the Indy Mini two times since learning about the group from the mother of one of her patients.

“This is a mutual encouragement system, and we cheer each other on,” Draper said.

Six-year-old Anthony, of Tracy, CA, has spastic cerebral palsy; a rare movement disorder where he has muscle spasms without warning.  He cannot digest table food so he’s restricted to using a feeding tube. He also has seizures and takes several kinds of seizure medications according to his mom, Kelly Hutchens.

Hutchens joined “I Run 4” so that someone could think of Anthony, run for him, and provide inspiration.

The Hutchens family considers the match-up with Draper to be a blessing. Stacey connects with Anthony frequently through text messages, Facebook and the occasional card or surprise package.  When she runs, Draper can be found wearing a shirt reading, “I run for Anthony.”  She often sports a headband and some small beads on her running shoes with Anthony’s name.

Draper frequently takes photos when she’s running a race or on the treadmill.  Anthony and his mom send photos back.

Draper also sends race medals, race t-shirts and other gifts to Anthony and his sisters.StaceyDraper3

“We get excited when she sends a package, and we’ll tell Anthony, ‘It’s from Stacey!'” Hutchens said.

The buddies got the opportunity to meet a couple of years ago when Stacey and her husband, Matt, traveled to San Francisco. Stacey pushed Anthony in his first 5K.

Since the two buddies have been paired, Draper has run one marathon, one sprint triathlon, nine half-marathons, and numerous shorter races.

“Basically, Anthony runs the races with me,” Draper said.  “You need that encouragement if you are having a hard time during a race, if your legs hurt and everything hurts. While not the same as what Anthony is going through, running can be incredibly difficult, but we both have to be strong and push out to the finish line.”

Asked why she likes running the Mini, Stacey replied, “It’s my hometown race. My Dad has been running the Mini for years.  I guess it’s become a family tradition.  It’s what we do the first weekend in May. My brother has also run the Mini several times and he’s very excited to have recently been paired with an ‘I Run 4’ buddy of his own.”

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Lisa Curley: My #IndyMini Story


95 pounds. That’s the weight Lisa Curley has taken off in the last 4-5 years. She’s been visiting Indianapolis her whole life, and now she’s going to run it.

Lisa, from Crown Point, Ind., grew up visiting Indy each May to see family and take part in the historic Hoosier tradition of the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend.

“Indy is where my family is from,” she said. “I spent many Memorial Day weekends as a child on my grandparents’ back porch listening to the race on the radio.”

Her grandfather was an auditor for the State. During the days of Mario Andretti Sr., he was also a lap counter at the Speedway.

“The stories he could tell and his passion for that race were infectious,” she said.



Before 10-2012
Lisa (right) with her Aunt and Sister in 2012
Lisa Curley First 5K
Lisa (left) running her first 5K
Lisa Curley After
Lisa running a 5K
February 2016
Lisa in February 2016








In 2012, Lisa began to run as part of a weight loss journey. She ran local 5K races and was constantly challenging herself to beat her previous time, finish a tough race, or simply get healthier.

Now 95 pounds lighter in 2017, she’s ready for something she never thought was possible.

“When I decided I was finally ready to try a half marathon, there was no question I was running Indy,” she said. “I want to run across the bricks. I want my first half marathon to be in the place I have so much passion for.”

Lisa begins her training on February 4.

On May 6, 2017, she’ll get to race around the track she used to only hear about.

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The Mini-Mountain

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

– Muhammad Ali

Training isn’t all that fun. No one really loves practice. Sometimes we trick our minds into enjoying the grind so that we can make it to that big game, the championship match, or the final race. But for every great destination, there’s a grand journey to get there. Such is true with the Mini-Marathon.

For many, it’s a social event. Show up. Walk with friends. Enjoy the city. And we love that about the Mini!

For others, it’s a challenge. And we love that, too.

If you’re one of many who have been intimidated by the 13.1 mile distance of the Mini-Marathon, don’t be. Here are three easy steps you can take to quickly prepare you to climb that metaphorical Mini-Mountain:

  1. 3-Miler
  2. 6-Miler
  3. 10-Miler

Tweet Miler

Three easy steps, but each one escalates you from the comfort of base camp to new heights. You can actually compete in the Miler Series in February, March and April leading up to the Mini-Marathon in May. It’s a training program that isn’t just practice and lonely cold runs, but races, medals, bibs and gear at each stop, signifying a better you, ready to reach the summit!


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Five Reasons to Run This December

A man running in the snow

It’s officially December; the month of the year that welcomes winter and sends the running community to indoor treadmills where it’s cozy and warm. We know it’s hard to balance your holiday season to-dos with an unappealing cold workout, but here are five reasons to get out and run this December:

1. Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D? It’s the “Sunshine Vitamin”!

A lack of Vitamin D is one of the leading causes of seasonal depression and part of the reason we get sick more easily in the winter. Getting just 10-15 minutes of sunlight each day is great for your skin and can fight depression and illness. Taking advantage of the sunlight this winter for a short run will make you happier and healthier!

If the weather is too much to take on, and it’s hard to find that perfect, sunny running time, look for foods that are high in Vitamin D like fish, mushrooms, orange juice and milk.

2. Stronger Heart

In cold temperatures, the heart works harder to distribute blood to the body. Exercising in the cold is like running with ankle weights for your heart. The process builds more endurance and a tolerance for your heart to work at a higher rate. Once you’ve conquered the winter running, the spring weather will be a breeze for your heart.

3. Burn More Calories

Similar to your heart working harder in the winter, so does your entire cardiovascular system. Fighting the cold elements will cause you to burn more calories than a cozy, indoor treadmill run. Your sweat will dry and evaporate much faster in the cold air, but don’t think you’re sweating less, or burning fewer calories. Quite the opposite!

4. Train Different Muscles

When you run on a straight track or treadmill, your body tirelessly works the same muscles used to maintain your running posture and endurance. And that’s not always bad! While we don’t recommend sprinting down icy streets, hitting a road or trail coated in snow and various winter elements can help train other muscles in your body. That occasional lateral movement and the fight in your calves to propel through snow can be beneficial to getting more out of your run!

5. Eat More Holiday Food! 

Running in the cold is a great combatant for winter weight gain. Our bodies are more susceptible to adding weight in the winter due to a decrease in activity level and a slowed metabolism. Getting out and running essentially tricks your body into coming out of hibernation. Not only that, but we all want to indulge in some holiday treats! If you want to feel better about eating a little unhealthy later in December (and I think we all do), make up for it by hitting the trails and streets now!


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August in May: An #IndyMini Story

This story took place in the magical month of May, but it became real just this week.




This past year – in May of 2016 – a Mini-Marathon participant by the name of Mark Seitz was about to run his 18th Indy Mini (applause Mark). Seitz picked up his packet at the Mini Expo per usual. Inside, he found a t-shirt, hat and bib; your typical goodies in a Mini package. But he found something not-so-typical, too; a hand-drawn picture with a note from a local elementary student.

August Stella was a 4th grade student at Carey Ridge Elementary school last year. He was one of 25,000 students to take part in the Indianapolis 500 and 500 Festival Education Program in 2016 – the first year students wrote notes to Mini-Marathoners. In his note, he wished a random participant (in this case, Seitz) good luck in the Mini. He also drew a blue race car.

As Seitz blazed the Mini course for yet another year, he took to the straight away at IMS thinking about the race car that August had drawn. Seitz decided to thank August for the motivation by giving him his Mini medal and bib. With the help of his wife, Linda, he did exactly that. Over 25,000 students wrote notes to 35,000 Mini-Marathon participants, so it seemed unlikely that this was anything more than a random act of kindness from August to Mark, and back again.

Linda took the medal, accompanied by a note to “Augie”, and delivered it to Carey Ridge Elementary. Later that night, Mark received a message from Augie’s mother, Leigh. The message read:

Mr. Seitz,

My name is Leigh Stella, and your wife, Linda, delivered your note, bib, and medal to my son Augie today.  

I cannot thank you enough for this kindness. Augie has had a tough school year… it’s been a struggle, but we’re hoping to finish strong. You might imagine how your note and gift has encouraged and excited Augie already.

We are so grateful that you sought Augie out — but I guess we should not be surprised… we were delighted to discover that you are married to one of our favorite people!  Linda cared for our daughter, Kate, in the infant room at Maple Glen.  It is indeed a small world!

Blessings to you sir!  You have made one little boy very proud… he hasn’t taken the medal off yet.

With fondness, The Stella Family



The story is such an awesome example of the impact of the Mini-Marathon, but it didn’t stop there. On Sunday, Nov. 12, Mark and Augie finally met… by accident… at a pizza restaurant.

“What a great day! I got to finally meet Augie!
Auggie and his family happened to walk into the same local pizza restaurant where Linda and I were dining this evening. Linda took the opportunity to introduce me to this cool young man.”

And with that, a now-5th grader and an experienced Mini-Marathoner became instant friends. Students will continue to write notes to Mini-Marathoners as part of the education program in 2017, and we hope to see more stories like this.

We love May here at the 500 Festival, but we’re pretty fond of August now, too.



Read Mark Seitz’ full blog

Learn about the Indy Mini and how you can run with a purpose through Mini With A Meaning