If you’re feeling the need for speed, as many runners do, then this week’s edition of the Runner’s Weekend is right up your alley. Join us as we explore the home of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and highlight a half marathon course that takes you for a lap around the largest sports venue in the world.
That’s right, in honor of the Indy 500, this weekend we will heading to Indianapolis for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon. This 13.1 mile race takes place annually in early May before the festivities surrounding the Indy 500 get started. The feature attraction of the 500 Festival Mini Marathon is surely on every NASCAR fan’s bucket list and even if you don’t watch NASCAR it is something all will enjoy. During the race, runners will get the chance to enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500, and run a full lap around the 2.5 mile track. Not sure if you can handle the half marathon distance? That’s alright, you can work your way up by participating in the Miler Series events. The 3 separate events of the Miler Series are the perfect way to train for your 500 Festival Mini Marathon. Miler Series events take place from February through April and include a 3-miler, 6-miler and 10-miler race. As an added bonus, runners who complete a 3 events in the Miler Series and the 500 Festival Mini Marathon will earn the Mini Maniac Challenge medal. For those who really want to push the limit, there is a Finish Line 500 Festival 5k that takes place in the morning before the 500 Festival Mini Marathon. Runners are invited to take on the Mega Mini Challenge by completing both the Finish Line 5k and 500 Festival Mini Marathon on the same day. If you also completed all 3 events of the Miler Series then you will earn The Greatest Spectacle Challenge medal. So, go ahead and earn that bling and some serious bragging rights.
After the race go ahead and enjoy the city of Indianapolis, you deserve it.
Indianapolis is most famous for auto racing so of course there are some great things to do for racing fans. A must see for all visitors is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. Visitors of the Motor Speedway will have the opportunity to watch drivers do practice runs around the track, see the spectacle of the 2.5 mile track, and visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. The museum is filled with race cars, memorabilia, and information about the track’s history as well as the history of auto racing in general. You can choose to take the Grand Tour of the Motor Speedway which includes a tour of the track and allows you to visit the media center, Pagoda, victory platform, Gasoline Alley Suite, and the famous “Yard of Bricks” at the start/finish line.
If visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn’t enough to satisfy your craving for speed then take on the Indy Racing Experience. This is the ultimate experience of a lifetime as you get the opportunity to feel the high speed and pressure of IndyCar racing while racing around the track inside of a 2-seater IndyCar. There are two options for the experience, the Ride in which you sit back and enjoy the thrilling ride as a professional driver takes you around the course at high speeds, or the Drive in which you get behind the wheel yourself and feel the power of the IndyCar in your hands. Be prepared to empty your wallet for this experience though as Rides run around $500 and Drives will run you around $1000. For a cheaper, and slower, drive you can choose the Victory Lap option for $100. The Victory Lap program also runs on specific dates only between March and October.
If you are an auto racing fan on a budget, then the Dallara IndyCar Factory is the way to go. The Dallara IndyCar Factory is a hands-on interactive facility centered around the engineering and technology of auto racing. Inside the factory you can experience race simulators and learn about the history and science behind auto racing vehicles. You can even enter the Drive-to-Win contest at Dallara for just $10. The contest allows you to drive in a designated simulator and put the medal to the metal as you attempt to finish your lap as fast as possible. The individual who records the fastest lap of the month will receive an Ultimate Drive & Ride Experience which includes both the Ride and the Drive experiences at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Also, four times a day, the factory doors open and visitors will have the opportunity to watch an IndyCar being made.
Had your fill of auto racing, but need more to do in the city of Indianapolis? Take a walk, or bike, along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.This 8 mile pathway through downtown Indianapolis will guide you to some of the top sites to see in the city. Along the trail you will find Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indiana State Museum, Rhythm! Discovery Center, Lockerbie Square District, and Monument Circle, where the Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands. Also along the Cultural Trail you will find White River State Park, home of the Indianapolis Zoo, and the NCAA Hall of Champions. The Hall of Champions is a museum dedicated to NCAA sports and is located adjacent to the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis.
Other sites that are located just off the Cultural Trail include Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States and visitors of Indianapolis are welcome to take a tour of his 16-room home in Indianapolis which is filled with history and memorabilia of the former President’s life.
Other historic sites to visit in Indianapolis include the 26-acre estate located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art known as the Oldfields Lily House and Gardens. The 22-room mansion and gardens are open to the public and features 8 furnished rooms on the first level, 90% of which are original to the house, and historical and interactive exhibits on the second level. Conner Prairie is also a historic area that allows visitors to step back in time and see experience life in 19th Century Indianapolis.
Looking to shop for unique items from the past? Make sure to take the drive south to Southport Antique Mall. You will find everything from antique furniture and vintage clothing to collectibles and pop culture memorabilia his facility with over 200 antique and vintage boutiques.
Traveling with kids? Make sure to take them to these attractions that are great fun for the whole family.
Play of game of duckpin bowling at Action Duckpin Bowling. This variation of bowling has players use a ball slightly larger than a softball to knock over the 10 pins arranged in a triangle, similar to regular bowling except that the pins are shorter and lighter thus making it more difficult to achieve a strike. The kids will love playing this game and with the smaller size of the ball even the youngsters can get in on the fun. You could also check out the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre where you can enjoy your meal while enjoying some live theatre. They perform many popular shows such as Shrek, Pinocchio, Ring of Fire and West Side Story.
For the adventurous family, take a trip out to Eagle Creek Park. This park has plenty to do for families looking to spend a day in the sun including a playgrounds, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and trails, including a Fitness Trail that has 20 exercise stations along the route with a total of 32 exercises. In the summer months visitors can take a swim at the sandy beach on the east side of the park or enjoy some live music as part of the summer concert series. In the fall visitors are welcome to take a hayride through the park that ends with a campfire. However, the biggest attraction at Eagle Creek Park is up in the trees. Named in the top 10 best ziplines in the United States, Go Ape Treetop Adventure is great fun for all. Along with 5 ziplines, the course made up of challenging rope ladders, tarzan swings, and rope crossings. Though the Treetop Adventure is for ages 10+, they also offer a Treetop Junior experience for the younger crowd.
While visiting Indianapolis make sure to stop by one of the three Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza locations around Indianapolis. This pizza place has some unique pizza creations such as the Lasagna Pizza or the Bollywood that you won’t find anywhere else and it is all delicious. We stopped there on the way out of town to order two pizzas, half Cheese Louis & half Bollywood and half Shipwreck & half Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, and loved every bite.