Saturday was the 8th running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana. There were 13,826 finishers, which is 395% larger than the inaugural event in 2008 (only 3500 finishers). I believe this is a great representation of how running in general has evolved and increased in popularity over the last 8 years. While marathon running has definitely seen a pick up in competitors (1,114 in 2008 verses 3,999 in 2015 here), the half marathon is where the real party is growth wise. At the inaugural event in 2008 there were approximately 2,386 half marathoners in Indy but in 2015 there were 7,288! Wow! That’s amazing. I love seeing so many crazy runners out there pounding the pavement! Now let’s run!!
The race started at 8am on Capitol Avenue beside the Capitol Building. It was a crisp 40 degrees with a light wind and the sun was just coming up. Excitement was definitely in the air. I knew so many people running. Many looking to smash an old PR. Some looking to just finish. It was crowded. Lines to the potties were long and when we went to get in our corral, there wasn’t room and we waited on the sidewalk until the gun went off. There were 5 of us who wanted to run together. Not ideal but hey, what’s ideal? We had 2 young girls with us who were running their first half marathon. The plan was to stay easy, relaxed and to make sure they were feeling GOOD when they made the turn off for the half. I think we all remember our first half and it wasn’t because we were smiling at the end. Okay, maybe you were smiling. I wasn’t. In fact, I wanted to give my running shoes to the first homeless person I saw. That first half of mine is almost like a nightmare and if I can help even ONE person to avoid making the same mistakes I made, then I’m happy. So I was very focused on keeping the girls close and keeping the pace easy. That’s if they were even interested in staying with us cuz it’s hard to really know what teens are thinking. But alas, we were a band of 5. And that calls for a selfie!
The first miles were crowded. Very crowded. The streets in Indy weren’t real wide in most places. We did a lot of weaving. Of course, ALL the walkers started in front of us. So we ran, weaved, talked and smiled. Dropped the girls at the turn off for the half (approx 7.5 miles) and was I pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t total desolation like we normally see when the half splits. Lots of runners still in it for the full but things calmed down and we weren’t weaving very much. It was after the split that I started to take inventory of the day. It was a cool day. No humidity. Indy was relatively flat. We weren’t running fast but not slow. I had a couple “niggles” that were tightening but overall, I felt pretty decent. I had taken a full week off previous to Indy. I know most “runners” would gasp at that but I’m all about listening to my body and showing up as fresh as possible. As a result, I was feeling pretty fresh. I thought I could actually post a decent time if I could hold it together. It’s been so long since I had a race with good weather, I honestly didn’t even know what “decent” was anymore but I was pretty comfortable in the 10-10:15 range and just held on to it. No pushing. Just patient, methodical running. Mile 10, Halfway, Mile 15, Mile 18, Mile 20, all right in the 10-10:15 range. And I ended up finishing under 4:30. It’s been a long time since I finished under 4:30 and I was one happy camper!!!
Race was very well supported with volunteers, medical & police trying to keep the unruly drivers at bay. We had water/Gatorade every mile, sometimes closer. Lots of potties. Multiple food stations, Boom Energy Gel, Oranges, Bananas. Local residents had set up their own stations and were handing out beer, Twirlers, pretzels, Halloween candy and more. The residents were very supportive and most of the drivers were very patient but I did see the police on multiple occasions dealing with angry drivers. I was very impressed with how well the officers managed the crowds; I know that’s a tough job.
This is a race where packets need to be picked up prior to race morning. It’s a great excuse to stay over in Indy and enjoy the beautiful city. View from our hotel overlooking Monument Circle.
Expo was a decent size and had a nice number of vendors. Gender specific shirts.
Finishers received a finishers medal and a finishers hat. Nice touch. I like finisher “swag” that isn’t just doled out at packet pick-up.
Overall, this is a great race. I’d definitely run it again. The course covered a good portion of the city and we ran on some great roads and thru some awesome neighborhoods. Indy didn’t shove us off into the corner but paraded us thru town and showed us the sites. It was a great experience and if you are wondering if you should run next year, do it. #BeMonumental, you won’t regret it.
Amanda – TooTallFritz
I been waiting for this post! I was there and it is a great city and a great place to run. I will counter in your perspective it flat….most is level…but there are some ascents out there on that out…but nothing grueling. Some of the roads were in rough shape which made running have to watch your feet…but the sections on trail through park and on parkway roads later stage were quite scenic.
Sadly…I get no specific mention…saw you at the start…saw you at the finish. Conversation seemed awkward and don’t understand that being such a big fan of your blog and your approach! I recognized you did well cause you showed up near that gear check area not too long after I finished. I had terrible run for various reasons and you were on the verge of catching and passing me. I was hurting badly end…you looked fine…and that’s the way of marathoning…goes good or can go downside. But so awesome to see that you did so well…so that says your approach was the right one.
Your post acknowledges the crowded streets…not only in the first few miles of running, but runners lined-up on sidewalks cause street corrals filled. That’s my big complaint with Indy…back in long line at porta-potties all situated as far back on street at end of the last corrals…by time out of there with 10-min to race…no easy way to get to my “designated” corral D and furthest I could get was “G” before sidewalks so blocked couldn’t get up further. So I started way behind and had to incur all the difficulties of trying to work through it and try to find my pace group.
My complaint about Indy…is they may designated “seeded” corrals…but there is no system and no staff in place to enforce or regulate it. So what you end up with is a bunch of far slower runners lining up on sidewalks to start way farther up than they need to be…and it compromises other runners that need to be elsewhere. It was similar when I ran Indy Mini many years ago…no real bonafide organization and enforcement to put runners of equal speed in same place on course. That’s my one big complaint with Indy Monumental.
Yes…there were walkers way in front of me as well as a lot of very big, wide and frankly, overweight bodies blocking my way and it irks me a lot in that first 5k to work through it and expend a lot of extra effort to do it. But I do know at least 1-walker was “seeded” in elite corral (Paula Steinbach) cause she doing her 100th marathon and assigned BIB 100! And I did encounter her…but she was not an obstacle like some of the others than run in lines side-by-side…a blockade.
Everything else you say about race is great…yes…city has great feel…great place to be…both before and after race. Just don’t go there with a goal to run performance or qualifying time for other races. You can have fun running it with a different approach…but I didn’t have fun save for moments here and there with various runners on course or spectators here and there…just did what I could to survive and finish. Take your choice…Indy has a lot of potential…just need to sort out that race start logistics far better. Very easy just to make the corral area larger and shift it farther backward. And yes…put porta-johns closer to the “seeded” corral area. In fact…be like NY Marathon…put porta-johns in each and every corral area! But you have to have a sidewalk clear and free to move down and gated entries monitored by race staff to ensure you get equal runners in corrals they need to be. I have run in Indy two times…and both…had the same problem being in position way behind…have to fight too hard. Won’t go back…until I sure they fix that.
My apologies for not mentioning you. I saw so many people I knew very well but had zero pics of anyone other than the initial ladies I was with at the start. I didn’t want to offend anyone by mentioning some but not others. Plus I wasn’t feeling very well at the start, was having some serious back pain & some anxiety over whether it would settle once I started to run. So I was a bit off. My apologies.
Seeded corrals, I didn’t see at all. I did see a few bibs with letters for seeding but never was close enough to the front to even see the letters. We just started with the masses in the back. Took us 10 min to cross the start line so we were back there.
I still think it’s a good race. City’s like Indy struggle accommodating so many runners but you’re right, it’s hard to run a pace without exerting a lot of effort.
Sent from my iPhone
Oh yah..you might appreciate this! No sooner than I finish posting my comment to your blog, then back to my email inbox and there is the Survey Indy Monumental sent! So I did vigil and gave them lots of credit where they were great (finish, on-course support)…but gave them a lot of wrath on that Start area with no bonafide system to ensure seeded entry and how their porta-johns configured way last corral. Will they listen? Who knows…but I ain’t going back there if my mission isn’t simply to go with the flow and end up finishing feeling fine…like you! You did awesome and your approach to that race and how you ran it…is they way to do it given current construct. I am sure the majority of your followers will recognize that. But city and the course for most part and other aspects of the event are right on line with what your review says. I should have just fallen back and started with your pack…I probably would have finished feeling far better than I did and enjoyed it far more than what I did trying to make some qualifying time goal! OK…so if I go back next year…then you and your crowd better be there and I just lining up behind you in same position and following along. I suspect I will find it fun!
Looks like it was another perfect day for long-distance running! Well done on that excellent time — I completely agree with opting for fresh legs and would rather take it VERY easy the week before a race than risk overdoing it. Looks like you have a great sense of what works for you.
I ran this last year and PR’d in very chilly conditions, but it looks like you had nicer conditions. I remember liking the race a lot more than I was expecting — very well run, even scenic for most of it! I was considering it this year but couldn’t make it due to scheduling issues, so I’m doing my own Indiana marathon tomorrow. Hope it goes as well as yours!
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