Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Mini

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, all run, no walk

This Saturday is the Running Event of the Year in Central Indiana, the
OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. As befits major events, the name around here is simply “The Mini.”

There’s nothing “mini” about it, though. The organizers have to cut off registration at 35,000, which they hit in early December. It’s the biggest half marathon in the US. One of the big draws of the race is running a full lap around the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of what used to be a big race, the Indianapolis 500, and now home to a really big race, NASCAR’s Brickyard 400. The start queue extends 9 city blocks, takes about 31 minutes to get everyone over the start line. The whole event is a Big Deal.

For lots and lots of people around here, this is the only race each year they run. In fact, it is the only time they train each year. I suspect the timing is helpful. People sign up before Thanksgiving and Christmas pig-outs, promising themselves they need the motivation of a race to start running/walking after eating so much. So they sign up, somehow get to the first Saturday in May, slog through 13.1 miles, wonder why they did it and then repeat the next year.

All of this makes the race kind of interesting to those of us who actually run a lot of races. For some, it is a chance to run well on a flat, fast course. For many, though, it is simply a fun event with a big-race atmosphere that we only have to drive an hour to be part of. The pack is simply so big that, unless you get into one of the front starting corrals, it takes several miles to have enough space to run at your own pace in a straight line. There are lots of walkers who somehow manage to start farther up front than they are supposed to, making for lots of zigging and zagging.

Yet, the race is truly fun. They advertise 120 musical groups performing along the route and I think that is not an exaggeration. It is almost constant music for the entire route, except for the lap on the IMS. Styles range from rap to country to rock to reggae and even clogging. The final mile is a long straightaway approaching downtown and is lined with people several deep along the whole way. Only once a year do we ever see that.

So, for this my third “mini,” I’m going to just have fun. It is not a target race, it is just a long workout for my target race on June 2. I don’t really have a time target. The Galloway run/walk thing won’t work in this mob of runners, so I’ll probably just walk through the 16 aid stations and call it good. If I’m under 2:10, I’ll be pleased.

I’m running with long-time friend Jess, who has never done 13.1 before. We’ll have fun on the way down and back and it will be quite an experience for him, a guy who has only run one small 10K race before.

I’ll post race commentary here over the weekend…perhaps with photos from the course…I’m going to pack a small camera in my
RaceReady Shorts and click along the way.

Persevere. Max, not Mini.


George said...

Joe, see you on Saturday. I'll be in blue race ready shorts, a right w/ flag trim race ready racing shirt, and a blue head band.

I'm sure we will see each other!! LOL!

Good luck, can't wait to see your pictures!

Backofpack said...

Sounds wild Joe! I'm not sure I like the big races where you can hardly move - though I've never been in one that big! I ran the Jingle Bell 5K in Seattle once - it was so crowded that I couldn't take a walk break - I'd have been run over. I did okay, but paid for it with a bad heart for a few weeks. Haven't done it since.

Anyway, have fun!

robtherunner said...

Good luck with the mini and have fun. I could not imagine running such a huge race. I think Portland is the biggest race I have ever run. I hope you get some pics of the crowd.

Sarah said...

16 aid stations for a 1/2 marathon? That sounds like a crazy run and I can't wait to see your pics. Have fun!

Wes said...

The only thing that sounds worse is the Peachtree Road Race :-) 45,000 people doing a 10K. LOL. You have a great time, but beware that word "fun". It has a way of dissolving once the race starts! Looking forward to the pics and the report. Have fun!!!

Darrell said...

I too will echo the above, a 35000 half marathon just sounds out of control, yet you sound almost giddy in your anticipation of the race. I know you'll have all the more fun sharing it with Jess.

A picture of the track at Indy full of people would be great to see.

WADDLER26.2 said...

Good luck to you Joe! I ran the Mini 2 years ago and loved it. I think I could add on 5 zig-zag mile on the 13.1. Running on the track is a cool experience. I'll be driving through about 10am so I'll wave and give a shout out on the way to the Pig. Hope the rain holds off!!

David said...

have fun. with that many people it will be hard to score well so you might as well concentrate on people watching and the music.