- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
This was my first time running the Indy Half Marathon at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park. The race is held in Lawrence, IN which is a suburb of Indianapolis. Up until a couple of years ago, this was a marathon, half marathon, and 5k race. At the time this race began, it was one of only a few marathons in the state and was the only one in Indianapolis. Then a couple years ago, the original race comity decided to end the event.
However, the race management of the Monumental Marathon brought it back. They did eliminate the full marathon and keep the half and 5k going. With the new management taking over, they then created what is now known as the Indython. If you run any distance at the two races, you will get a third medal after the Monumental Marathon. As I have said, this is the first year that Tina and I have run this race, thus the first time that we have taken part in the Indython.
We headed down to Indianapolis the night before to the northeast side of town. Packet pickup was easy to find and right by the race course. There were just a handful of vendors at the expo and you were able to get your bib number and shirt and get out fast as you would like. There was some pretty nice race merchandise for sale as well. Packet pick-up went from 10:00am-8:00pm with no option for race day pick-up.
On race day, the race started at 8:30am. Most fall weekends, this probably not that bad, but this was a very warm day with temps in the 70s to start the race with high humidity. You were encouraged to get to the race at least by 7:30 to ensure partking across the street from the start/finish line. There was ample parking but I can understand their concern. While you are waiting, they did have camp fires going in the field to keep warm. I am sure this was more for the expectations that it would be a cooler morning.
The race started promptly at 8:30AM. The course starts outside of Fort Ben State Park for the first mile before entering the park. The first mile starts on the nice down hill. The second mile include roads and bike paths of the park before exiting on the bike path to local roads that boarder the park. Mile 3 was the start of the hills which continued through mile 4. Miles 3-7 were on the boarder of the park along rolling hills.
After mile 7, the course goes back into the park with a lot of the second half of the course was on bike paths. once again the bigger hills come back up and they were killers and continues up until about mile 11. At mile 11, you leave the state park again and start running the perimeter of the park to the finish. The finish was lined with spectators and besides at the start and around mile 4, this was the only place that had spectators because the state park was closed to the public for the race.
The course was lined with great volunteers at the aid station and also course marshals directing you where to go. The volunteers at the aid stations were primarily from the Indiana National Guard. They were a great support out on the course on a hot day. The aid stations were at miles 2, 4, 5.5, 7, 8.5, 10, 11, and 12.
The swag for this race was pretty on point. The shirt was a quarter zip jacket with the logo on the left side of the chest. The finishers medals were very nice as well. Not the largest medals but they were very colorful with a clear logo of the race on the front. After you cross the finish line, you are of course given your medal as well as a bottle of water, Clif Bar, banana, and a bag of chips. There is also a post race cookout. You could get a hamburger, bratwurst, or piece of pizza. There were also cookies and some other side items.
This is a tough half marathon, probably the toughest half that I have ever ran. The course had 351 ft of elevation gain which is just a little less than the total I ran in the marathon a week prior. With that being said, it was a beautiful course and would have been even better had the leaves started to change color (looks like that will happen later than usual this year). I got to see a state park that I had never been to before (too bad there is no camping). And it was a real challenge with the weather and the hills. If you are not looking for a PR and just want a challenging course, give this race a try