We run as one…on the world’s most famous race track!

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The Indy 500 Mini Marathon is a must-do event for any running enthusiast. With its flat and fast course, runners have the opportunity to complete a 2.5-mile lap around the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the famed Indianapolis 500.

Love on the run: Family 5K

One of the most rewarding experiences is traveling to these races with family. On this day, I was lucky enough to have my wife, Carrie, and my parents not only cheer me on, but kick off the day running a 5K! Race mornings have a special kind of magic, and sharing them with loved ones makes the memories even more precious.

Left to Right: Mom, Dad, Carrie and Jason

Miles 1-5: Start your running engines

As my family embarked on their 5K, I stood at the start line, ready to tackle the 13.1 miles ahead. The atmosphere was electric, with the scent of racing smoke adding to the excitement. As the countdown began, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of adrenaline. The start line was a spectacle in itself, with energy radiating from the crowds and the racing smoke billowing overhead

Like a caged race car driver out of the starting gate, I ran down Washington Street, passing by the Indianapolis Zoo. The streets were lined with enthusiastic spectators, cheering on the massive crowd of over 30,000 participants from all walks of life. It was a true melting pot of runners, joggers, walkers, and wheelchair athletes, representing not just all 50 states, but also more than 15 countries from around the world.

The first few miles were fairly flat and fast, but a word to the wise; make sure you don’t over due it, because you don’t want your own “check engine” light coming on before you hit the Indy 500 track!

The water stations, aka pit areas, are impossible to miss and there are 10 of them throughout the half marathon.

As I navigated through mile three, transitioning off W. Michigan Ave, I was greeted by a plethora of entertainment that lined the course. Over 100 different entertainers, ranging from bands to jugglers, brought a vibrant atmosphere to the race. Among the various performers, one particularly memorable act stood out.

This robot was standing at a mere 10 feet high and was a hilarious lift at Mile 3

The next few miles seemed to pass in a blur, and before I knew it, I was turning off Main Street and there it was, the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, often hailed as the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’

Miles 6 to 8.5 – A 2.5 mile lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Entering the tunnel and emerging onto the Indy 500 race track was a moment I’ll never forget. I’ve watched countless Indy 500 races and spent hours watching running videos of this very race on YouTube, but actually stepping onto the track was an experience beyond compare. The sense of history and excitement that permeated the air was palpable, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe. Running on this hallowed track was truly a bucket list moment, and one that will stay with me forever.

The first half mile at on the historic Indy 500 track

As I reached Mile 7 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the grandstands stood silent and imposing, bearing the proud declaration, “The Racing Capitol of the World.”

Rounding the bend at Mile 7
Run4Papa in the top poll position

Ahead, the start/finish line brickyard loomed in the distance, a powerful symbol of the Speedway’s illustrious past and promising future.

The now-iconic tradition of “kissing the bricks” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was born out of a moment of reverence and celebration. After winning the 1996 Brickyard 400, NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett and his crew chief, Todd Parrott, made a poignant gesture. They walked hand in hand to the start-finish line, knelt down, and kissed the Yard of Bricks. This simple act of homage has since become a beloved tradition, symbolizing respect for the Speedway’s storied past. Thus, has become a cherished tradition embraced by drivers, fans, and now, runners alike.

A 36-inch strip of the original bricks was kept intact at the start/finish line, where it remains today as the fabled Yard of Bricks.

With just over half a mile to go, I flew by Pit Row making my way (slightly off course) to the top of one of the corner turns on the oval. The incline of the corner turn loomed ahead, reportedly set at 12 degrees, though in my exhausted state, it seemed steeper. After extending my run about 30 extra steps up and down the oval corner, I completed the 2.5-mile run on the hard asphalt.

Miles 8.5 – 13.1: Eyeing a checkered flag finish line

The next 4.5 miles took me on a loop through the neighborhoods of Indy, the city waking up around me. The straight path on 10th street was a welcome respite, with bands playing music that lifted my spirits and kept my pace steady. The oval had taken more out of my body that I anticipated but it was well worth the trade-off!

Eyeing the finish line in the distance and appreciating the opportunity to raise awareness for dementia research in state #32

As I ran down the homestretch, the anticipation of seeing my wife and parents at the finish line fueled me. Their unwavering support for this cause and the pure joy of celebrating together continue to create memories that will last a lifetime.

We ran as one. 4 finishers, 4 medals, 4 smiles, and over $4,000+ raised for dementia research

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