Weekend Update: The “Other” Side of the Mini Marathon

I am so excited to share our Weekend Update with you!  Thanks, again, Tara for hosting this crazy crew!


Friends, I don’t even know where to start this post … we had SUCH an amazing time learning the ropes on the other side of race day.  


Most of our crazy RG + family volunteer group!

The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon is the nation’s largest half marathon so naturally, if you have any interest in running or our city’s rich IndyCar racing history or just really enjoy people watching … you have to put the Indy Mini {half marathon} on your bucket list, at least once :)


Did you know there is a right and wrong way to prep the Gatorade station? This is actually the wrong way! Don’t worry, it was an easy fix!

Most of us had run the Mini several times before Saturday and, through injury or scheduling conflicts, found ourselves without a race entry for the weekend.  As I mentioned on Thursday, your Java & Sole girls had set a goal at the beginning of the year to volunteer at a race we weren’t going run.  {Which is insanely hard because we want to run them all!!}


Someone heard they were still looking for aid station volunteers for the Mini, so we jumped at the chance to still join in the race day fun.  The weather was perfect – about 45* when I left my house and 70* by mid afternoon.  Sunny all day with a light breeze – perfect for race day and Gatorade!


Armed with coffee and donuts … and tu-tu’s … we began setting up our area.


And we recruited anyone else who wanted to help too!  Lots of next-generation Runner Girls braved the 4 am alarm to volunteer alongside us.


A few days before the race, Sherry and Jenny picked up our volunteer shirts and credentials … which were so fun! … and found out they had put our group at the Finish Line!  We were going to get to see each runner and walker moments after they finished their race.

Clearly we were the super heroes of the post-race :)


Elite runners, local favorites, RG’s running their first (or 2nd or 3rd or 4th) Mini and fellow runners from our training program plus friends/family/teachers/neighbors and more … everyone who crossed the finish line, including the winners!

Top Female Finisher Sarah Kiptoo (from Santa Fe, NM) was very kind and very graciously took several pictures with us.




Top Male Finisher Elisha Barno (also from Santa Fe) was equally generous with his him, even handing Cora his bouquet to hold for the photo.  {With the flowers + tiara and tutu, this kind of reminds me a cute Homecoming picture!}


A toast to getting all 8 of our tables prepped with plenty of Gatorade and water for the finishers.


Rubbing elbows with the top of the field was certainly an added bonus to our day.  And being among the very first to congratulate our family and friends and training group on their accomplishment was absolutely awesome!

indy26 indy21 indy20 indy11 indy4 indy1

Jen and Jennifer ran 13.1 and then came back to help us help rehydrate more finishers.  That is some serious dedication!

The kids maintained a sense of enthusiasm throughout the day that was very special to watch.  At one point, one of our little ladies exclaimed, “I love helping Mom!  It’s so fun and everyone’s so happy to get their Gatorade!”  On a warm Indiana day after a toasty 13.1 miles … you better believe it!indy3

A little stretching in between waves … gotta keep those muscles happy!


More fun with the training group at the pre and post-race celebration tent!


At the end of the day, we had a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat!  We have always made a point to thank race day volunteers for their time but now we have an even greater appreciation for the hard work they put in long before the race starts as well as cleaning up long after most have gone home.



On a more serious note, this is post is lovingly dedicated to our very on Bob C. who left us {too soon} in March.  Bob had a passion for motorcycles, training and Jesus and spent the past 7 years volunteering his time supporting and encouraging others in the Mini Training and Boot Camp programs at our church.  In a way, it was somewhat fitting that we ended up volunteering during the Mini Marathon & 5K this year … feels like something Bob would have done.

Our training group runners and volunteers wore yellow bracelets on Saturday that read “Miles for Bob”.

I have no doubt that Bob was getting his miles in that morning as well :)


14 thoughts on “Weekend Update: The “Other” Side of the Mini Marathon

  1. You make volunteering look so run! Several of my friends ran this one, and thanks for your enthusiasm and just being there! It means a ton to the runners!

    1. Java & Sole says:

      We totally lucked out by getting a perfect day weather-wise and the finish line spot! We had a large group (30+ I think) and I just found out this morning that the group who had been at that aid station the past several years decided not to come back this year, so that had a specific need to fill. Honestly, I was sure I was still going to miss running the race itself, but volunteering turned out to be one of the most rewarding run-related things I have ever done! Thanks for stopping by Wendy!

  2. Eric1jen says:

    What s great recap of our day. It was more than I expected. So many people running and walking to meet their personal goals. It was an honor to congratulate them all.

    1. Java & Sole says:

      It really was amazing! To be on the other side of a race that large, especially, was unreal! I love to hear everyone talking about doing it again next year!

  3. What a great experience! Love all of these pics, too; y’all look amazing out there! I have a childhood friend who now lives in Indy; she keeps telling me I need to do a race there… :) Thanks so much for linking up with the blog today and I hope your Monday is going well!

    1. Java & Sole says:

      Oh my gosh, Tara this would be a great race to run because it’s so popular. Our absolute favorite local course is the Indy Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon in November. It’s flat and fast and the weather is generally nice (one year it was freezing though!) The Indy Women’s Half just got moved back to September from June and apparently they are changing the course, but that’s another fun one! Definitely let me know if you are able to make it out here – I’d love to meet up!!

      1. Will do! Thanks so much for the info and recommendations; I’m going to make it happen, one of these days!

  4. Jen says:

    What a rewarding experience it was!!!

    1. Java & Sole says:

      Yes, Absolutely!

  5. Summer says:

    Brandi this post is just fantastic!!!

    1. Java & Sole says:

      Thank you Summer!

  6. Christie says:

    Love this post Brandi!!! Smiles and tears.

    1. Java & Sole says:

      Couldn’t possibly sum up our day without Bob. He was one of the first people I remember meeting the first time I trained with you all. Being able to honor him Saturday was perfect – thank you for making that happen!

  7. Jennifer says:

    So fun you were able to volunteer with your group/friends! Looks like you all had a great time. I’ve only volunteered myself, but that is a great idea to get your own team together.

Share your thoughts!