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I’m here to tell you WHY I LOVE the 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

I ran this race for the first time in 2005. It was my very first half marathon. My mom, dad and one of my sisters did it too. My sisters and I actually just recorded my third podcast episode and we discuss the experience.  (More on the podcast in an upcoming post) I ran the first 6 miles with my mom and then finished on my own. I wasn’t trained- had ran around 6 miles for the longest run leading up. It was so hard. In the 10 years since that first time, I’ve done it 8 of the 10  years. And it’s fun every time.

Once you’ve ran a few half marathons, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of “Oh the mini is too crowded”. People who have done it a few times, sometimes think, I’ve been there done that, I don’t like it, there are too many people…. It’s only for first timers. I’m here to say that I am no first timer and I LOVE the mini. Here’s why:

  • It’s an amazing event for our city. HELLO- it brings thousands of people into Indy and is great for the local economy. Duh.
  • It’s fun. Stop taking yourself so seriously. You aren’t trying out for the Olympic team and it’s not a big deal if you have to weave around in the first few miles. If you really want to avoid that- run a race beforehand to get yourself a starting spot in a closer to the front corral. Last year I ran a 1:38 starting in something like corral F (which is sort of far back for that time) and it really wasn’t all that bad. I mean there was plenty of weaving, a bathroom break, and it was fine.
  • How fun is it to see our city filled with people full of energy and happiness (or despair if you check in on them at mile 10) all morning. You’ve got first timers, people who do it every year, people running for fun, people running with a family member or friend who are doing the race for the first time ever, people trying to PR, people running for a charity close to their heart. There are SO many reasons they are out there testing their limits or just having fun and it’s a good thing. Who cares if you have to bump elbows with some of them for the first few miles?
  • It’s the 40th running of the 500 festival mini AND the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. That is cool.
  • You get to run through Haughville. You might say it’s a dumpy part of town, but I say, open your eyes when you run through and think about how maybe you could be a part of making it better.
  • Speedway is totally the new “in” part of town with Big Woods, Dare Devil — I noticed how cute it was and how much it had changed already last year when we ran through. My friend who runs the speedway running club told me I won’t even recognize it this year.
  • The finishing shoot is amazing- they play old clips from the 500 which is so cool. The stretch on New York is long, but it’s a fun and fast last mile with plenty of people cheering you along the way.

This is the breakdown of my 500 Festival Mini Marathon Experiences:

  • 2005 – First Half Marathon Ever- along with my mom, dad and one of my sisters. Nobody was prepared. We all wanted to die. I ran a 1:59:52. My goal halfway through the race became to break 2:00. The longest run leading up to it was 6 miles. I was REALLY proud of that sub 2 hours. I so wish I could find a picture. Sad face.
  • 2006 – Started dating Glenn this year and convinced him to run it with me. I think he beat me though. No he did. I just checked. He ran a 1:46:24 and I ran a 1:47:15. At least he didn’t walk. When he ran his first 5K with me the year before, he had to take a walk break halfway through.The best part about the picture below- well there are a lot of best parts, but Glenn is rocking a cotton pizza express shirt that said “I get it every night” and you better believe that cotton shirt had blood streamed down the front of the shirt at the end from his bloody nipples. We didn’t know about body glide back then. I can’t even talk about the leg chaffing I experienced. Because my legs don’t not touch. (There’s an inside joke there; after the race, as I was basically crying from the leg chaffing pain, I looked over at my mom who had ran too and asked her if she had the same issue, to which she responded with “My legs don’t touch”) So that will forever be etched in my mind. My legs touch, but my moms legs don’t touch. Whatever man. Pro leg touching over here. (No bashing my mom, she’s great, these are just the things I just like to call her out on)


  • 2007 – We ran again, Glenn ran 1:52:14 and I have no clue what I ran, because I must have used someone else’s bib. There is no record of Lindsey Andersen running, but I did run it that year.


2007 Mini Marathon

  • 2008 – This was the year, we got married, bought a house and ran our first marathon. We did this as a training run for the marathon. I ran a 1:37:30 and Glenn ran 1:37:45. This is actually a funny story, because we started the race together and broke apart around mile 6 and never saw each other again until the finishing shoot… where I was in front. Sorry bout’ ya Glenn. Your soon to be wife won. But really because of this race, I realized it was a possibility that I could try for a BQ on that first marathon. It planted the seed of confidence I needed. (keep in mind BQ standards were 5 minutes slower back in the day) Oh my gosh. We were babies.


  • 2009 – This is the year I trained senior citizens at the John H. Boner Community Center to walk the 13.1. It was a long process, but it was pretty cool. I spent a lot of hours walking with this group and riding my bike next to them in the months leading up to the race. We must have been newly weds, because I somehow convinced Glenn to walk the whole race with us. It took us over 4 hours. And like Mildred always said “who said we couldn’t do it.” Mildred was one of the seniors I worked with who is no longer with us- she actually wasn’t one of the seniors who was able to do the race, but that was one of her favorite phrases and I carry it on. And let me tell you- this was an experience these women will never forget. What an accomplishment.


  • 2010: The year we thought we were too cool. I actually think I had Glenn working all day cleaning up one of the seniors houses. There are stories for another day of all the things I had Glenn doing when I worked at the JHBCC. He’s moved furniture, put together desks, rode around on holiday lights tour of the city, made chili, took the day off work to help me with a picnic for 350 senior citizens. I was really good at bringing him into my work. For some reason, he’s never brought me into his… he must not trust my spreadsheet skills.
  • 2011: The year I coached a bunch of Tech HS kids and ran with them: This was part of The Super Bowl Legacy project that I was proud to be a part of. When the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis, the community center that I worked at was heavily involved in all of the efforts to revitalize the city- specifically the near eastside. This was one of several amazing projects that came about due to the Super Bowl Legacy project. Also, my little sister SHELBY (who was rocking the pink hair way before it was cool, ran her first and only half marathon that year and wrote about it.
  • teamlegacy


  • 2014: The Year Glenn ran & Marshall and I cheered. I had just ran Boston, was newly pregnant, but didn’t know it yet and was dealing with some series plantar fasciitis. Glenn ran a 1:24 and then I sent him home with Marshall so I could hobble/run home with my plantar fasciitis foot.


  • 2015: My first half post LouisIt was fun for the first half of the race and I worked hard for the second half. The second half ended up being a great confidence building run for what was to come over the summer and into the fall. (before I epically tore my plantar fascia) DAMN FEET.


I haven’t full out raced the mini since 2008 right before our first marathon, but I’ll plan to do that sometime in the next couple of years. I do plan to run for sure this year, but not sure if it will be used as a race, training run or for fun run.

All this to say. I’ve only missed two years since the first time I ran this race. And now looking back, I’m sad I broke a good streak. You should get on the train too man. It’s fun. And you ain’t too cool to run it. Also- if you’ve never run a half marathon- this is a great place to start!

Have you ever run the 500 Festival Mini Marathon?

Are you running it this year?

What’s your favorite part of the race? 

Why do you Mini?

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