The 33rd 500 Festival Mini Marathon was this past Saturday. It's the largest half marathon in the United States. 35,000 runners participated this year, with an additional 4,000 running the 5K. Imagine almost 40,000 runners/walkers as well as thousands of spectators, volunteers etc all gathered downtown!
The Mini Marathon kicks off the month of May here in Indy... some of you may know that we have a BIG Indy Car race here at the end of May! ;)
The cycling club (Indianapolis South Stars) that I belong to volunteers each year to escort and call in times for the lead runners. We escort the lead Wheel Chair athlete, 1st, 2nd & 3rd overall male and female runners as well as the top Indiana (male & female) finishers.
I was assigned to follow the 2nd place overall woman. 2nd place changed only once and that was early on in the race. So I followed this gal basically for 12 of the 13.1 miles. At each mile marker I was to radio in her time and also keep folks off the course etc. Her name is Anzhelika Averkova. She is originally from the Ukraine, but currently lives and trains in New Jersey. Anzhelika finished the 13.1 miles in 1:14:58 - so I guess I did too! Ha Ha! Her pace average 5:44 minute mile.
By the way, I am the one on the bike! LOL!!!
It was quite an honor escorting an elite runner. Their physical fitness is amazing. You really don't even hear their feet hitting the ground, no labored breathing.
Here are some other pictures from the day...
The month of May is also kicked off by a hot air balloon race. Our friend Mike, who escorted the top overall female runner took this picture while on the road. If you look closely you can see the number one female (Janet Cherobon/Kenya - currently living and training in the state of Georgia) is in the white shirt on the right.
The photo above is the front stretch of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Part of the race is run on the 2.5 mile oval. This is just shy of the historic yard of bricks! This is a place I love to be as I started going to the Indy 50 when I was 9 years old. I stopped going about 10 years ago... but still enjoy getting out to the Speedway in May and tuning in to the 500 on Race Day.
I can't wait until next year. Jim and I had to be up at 5am in order to be downtown by 6:15am. It was well worth the experience. (Jim escorted the #3 female - a young lady from Kenya).
Since we finished so early we were able to sit on our bikes just shy of the finish line and cheer runners on! I was thrilled that I could watch my friend Paula come across the line! We still can't believe we found her out of 35,000 people! That's a God thing!
For all you gals out there who run! I am in awe of you! If you are ever in Indy in the month of May I suggest you run! But, you have to register early. The mini sells out in December!