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