7 Reasons to Start Training Now

Seven months is a long time to prepare. Here are seven reasons why that added time can be beneficial and help make training easier next spring.

1) Build a Base Before Winter

Once winter hits, it’s decision time. You can get in the gym and hit the treadmill, but committing to the goal now – while you can still take advantage of some cool running weather – is a great way to get started.

2)  Gradual Increases

The most common half marathon training plans usually consist of a 12-week focus. If you’re starting at zero, that’s more than a mile increase each week. Starting 7 months out – nearly 30 weeks – almost triples the time you have to increase distance.

3) Creating the Running Habit

Starting a plan, and finishing it, is difficult. We’ve all jumped into a training program and flaked out before accomplishing our goal. Give yourself more wiggle room to get that habit started.

4) More Rest!

With more gradual increases comes more flexibility for rest days. And let’s face it; you’re going to need those days in the winter.

5) Holiday Indulgence

The holiday season is not the most motivational time for half marathon training – unless it’s a couch-lounging, sweatpants-wearing, binge-watching marathon. Time and time again, potential half marathoners don’t get things started until after the holidays, the turkey, and the football. They’ve dug a hole to start their training. Simply put – get started now, continue through the holidays, and when the turkey has been digested, you won’t be starting from scratch.

6) New Year’s Resolutions

We’ll all have big plans for 2018 when January 1 rolls around. And by February 1, life will likely throw a metaphorical wrench in those plans. By starting now, January 1 would nearly signal the halfway mark in your training.

7) Race Day Ready

There will always be plenty of people who can hyper train, show up, and knock out a half marathon. If you’re not one of them, commit now and develop long-lasting habits to get yourself race day ready.

And have fun!

commit Now!

Indy Mini Staff to Visit Chicago Marathon

Members of the 500 Festival staff and the producers of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon will travel to Chicago over the weekend to experience the second largest full marathon in the nation, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. With more than 40,000 finishers in recent years, Chicago claims more participants than any race with the exception of the TCS New York City Marathon.


Our staff members are excited to experience Chicago’s race and witness hundreds of Indiana’s own take on 26.2 miles. Be sure to reach out on social media and let us know if you’re in the Windy City conquering the largest full marathon in the Midwest! Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates all weekend from our neighbors to the north.


Then, make us your next challenge in spring 2018!


Register for the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon

#IndyMini: How Do You Celebrate?

Proposals. Tattoos. And yes – even more running. No matter how, when, or with whom you celebrate, doing it your way is important.


Finishing a race is like reaching the end zone, but there are no flags for excessive celebration. If dodging tacklers in a field of 100 yards is cause for a dance, then what about dodging participants over the course of 23,000+ football fields?


Thousands finish the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon each year. And those thousands know how to celebrate. We usually catch the proposals at the finish, but we miss a lot of other great stories. So we asked our participants how they’ve basked in the glory of their big accomplishment in recent years. How did you celebrate?


Erin visited one of Indianapolis’ most delicious stops for donuts. You earned one, Erin.


Danielle supported a good cause at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A two-for-one day at the track!


About as pedestrian as it gets for Brienne, but certainly three essentials; hugs, food, and sleep.


Erica did what all visitors should do when in town for race weekend; experience our beautiful city!


And then there’s Derek.


Tell us how you celebrated and you could be featured! Comment below or leave a comment on social media. Whether your celebration was crazy or common, let us know!


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.



2018 Indy Mini Registration is Open!

Registration for the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is officially open!  Mark the calendar for May 5, 2018, when the 42nd edition of The Greatest Spectacle in Running returns to downtown Indianapolis. Whether a seasoned pro or a rookie Mini-Marathoner, here are a few items to watch for in 2018:


New in 2018 is The Greatest Spectacle Challenge, a compilation of all three of the 500 Festival running events; the 500 Festival Miler Series, presented by OrthoIndy, the Finish Line 500 Festival 5K, and the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. It’s a total of 35.2 miles and includes FOUR sets of gear – each individual running event, plus a fourth for completing the challenge.


Check out the new and improved Indy Mini Merchandise Store for all the gear to get you through your training. Don’t wait until May to look Indy Mini ready!


Want to get your coworkers involved in your 2018 training? There are some massive benefits to the Employee Wellness Challenge; a competitive office vs. office challenge with awards for speed and participation, as well as discounted group rates and an unforgettable team-building experience.


Don’t forget to check out the VIP Experience in 2018, with additional gear and race weekend perks like VIP parking, private gear check and a private, specialized post race party in Military Park.


Whether walking or running, solo or with friends and family, make your 2018 race weekend special, and thanks for making the Indy Mini the nation’s premier half marathon.

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

The 500 Festival mini-mini Medal


The 500 Festival mini-mini medal is in! And if you’re a 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon participant, you’re no stranger to the design.

No, we didn’t throw creativity out the window. We didn’t say, “That was good, let’s do it again!” The mini-mini medal mimics the Indy Mini medal for a reason.

  • It’s slightly smaller: 2.5 inches X 2.5 inches compared to the 3.5 X 3.5 size of the Indy Mini medal.
  • It’s a little lighter: 3 ounces compared to the 4.4 ounces of the Indy Mini medal.
  • It’s a bit flashier:  The bricks and flags atop the Pagoda are more fun and colorful! The ribbon features the signature mini-mini paint splotches instead of the checkered flag.

Each of these traits means something. It’s smaller, lighter, more colorful, and resembles the one that came before it, just like your mini runner.

Believe it or not, at this age, your little guy or girl wants to be just like you. They saw you conquer the Indy Mini in May and now they can get the medal that’s just like yours.

Pre-register before September 12 for just $15! See you at the track!

Cork Medical Wins Indy Mini Participation Award

Another winner has been announced in the Employee Wellness Challenge for the 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Congratulations to Cork Medical! Their exceptional group claimed the award for participation with an incredible 30 percent of their staff joining this year’s race.

The Mini-Marathon’s corporate competition features numerous Indianapolis-based organizations. Awards are given to the top companies in performance and participation. After announcing Rolls-Royce as the winner in the performance category, we were pleased to deliver the participation trophy to this dedicated organization on Indianapolis’ north side.

To learn more about the Employee Wellness Challenge or how your organization can get involved, click here.

3 Tips to Get Kids Active & Excited About Running

Kids spend an average of seven hours a day in front of a TV or computer screen.

Less than 10 percent of elementary schools offer a daily physical education class or program.

Two out of every three children fail to get some form of physical activity each and every day.

And one out of every three children and teens (ages 2-18) are considered overweight or obese.

The 500 Festival mini-mini may not change a child’s life, but it offers a chance – and a rare opportunity – to get kids excited about running.

How does it do that? By letting kids run on the largest track on planet Earth; the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Rather than being active and running for running’s sake, the 500 Festival and IMS give kids an experience that could help them get excited about running for the future.

For kids, flipping that switch and getting excited about running is completely different than it is for adults. Adults tend to take longer to get back in shape and readjust their lifestyle before they begin to see results. Kids just need to get moving, and they need to get moving now!

Here are three ways to get your kids more active leading up to the mini-mini:

  1. Play With Them – Runner’s World  explains the change in exercise habits for kids playing alone vs. playing with someone. Think about it – are you more likely to enjoy running with friends or by yourself? What about playing a sport and focusing on a challenge?
  2. Earn Screen Time – Hide that remote until your mini couch potato can earn it back. Then treat the TV or computer like a reward. Play first. Watch later.
  3. Watch What They’re Eating – Your kids are going to snack their faces off as they grow. Being the bad guy – although difficult – and making sure they’re eating the right things can keep them from overeating, eating poorly, and ultimately losing the energy that makes kids oh so fun.

After signing them up for the 500 Festival mini-mini on September 17, consider the 500 Festival KidsFit Program – an elementary-level curriculum that encourages Indiana youth to pursue active and healthy lifestyles – and find out how you can introduce it to your child’s school to spread the fitness!