Racing into May
We take the month of May very seriously here in Indianapolis. Not so long ago Indy 500 drivers and their crews arrived the first weekend in May and practiced at the track all month. Now the drivers and their crews arrive the week before the race and the qualifying is compressed into a few days.
Indianapolis has figured out how to keep the spirit of the month even if the drivers aren't in town yet. The Mini-Marathon is the first weekend in May and is my favorite 500 Mile Race related event. There are 35,000 folks registered, making it the largest half-marathon in the nation. This is the 37th year for the race and I've participated in at least half of them. The last several years I've walked the 13.1 mile course with a camera and notebook reviewing the bands along the way, earning me by first - and possibly last sports byline.
Back in the older days of the Mini you could pick up your packet at a sporting goods store or a table set up on a corner downtown during the lunch hours. Now packet pickup spans two days and is held in the Convention Center. I enjoy picking up the packets and being part of the crowd.
The serious runners can check out the latest technology in running gear, the fashion conscious runners can shop for hairbands, shorts and other goodies. I have just one goal when I pick up my packet: find the person with novelty photo opp. I have no shame when it comes to this sort of stuff. The 500 Festival team provided a copy of the actual wreath that will be given to the winner and real milk (which I was afraid that I might drop).
Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!