May 24, 2014
This was the inaugural year for the Noblesville Mini-Marathon. It is put on by America Multi-Sport and I have done 3 of their races before; the Muncie Mini-Marathon twice and last year’s Henry County Mini-Marathon. And not to confuse anyone, the term mini marathon is “typical” in Indiana to describe a half marathon since Indianapolis has been host to the 500 Festival Mini Marathon – the Nations largest half marathon – since 1977.
I registered for this race on December 29, 2013 at which time is was only $49. Noblesville is northeast of Indianapolis – and about an hour drive from my house – so I consider this a local race.
I was very pleased to see that the medal for this race was going to be a “quality” medal. Typically this company hands out a not-so-impressive medal.
^From their website^
FRIDAY, MAY 23rd: Packet pick-up was held at the Noblesville Boys & Girls Club. You could get your bib and shirt race morning but I went on Friday during my lunch hour. They had several vendors there but nothing that I was necessarily interested in. There was also the opportunity win a Chevy Camaro convertible for a weekend if you visited each vendor and got some stamp or signature from them. I didn’t participate in this. Since this wasn't “my side” of town, I figured it would be a hassle if I did win. Although this was the biggest expo that I’ve been to for this event group, I was in & out in about 15 minutes. However, they also handed out a piece of paper telling us that we needed to park at one of the middle schools race morning and take the bus to the start line. Good to know. I don’t remember reading that anywhere…but I could have overlooked it.
SATURDAY, MAY 24th: Race morning! Since it would take about an hour to get to the middle school from my house and I had no idea where I was going, what parking would be like or how long it would take to get on the bus, I set my alarm for 3:45AM so that I could leave the house no later than 5:15AM. There was a “mandatory” meeting before the race at 6:35AM. I wasn’t too worried about being there for that because typically this event group does a turn-by-turn recitation of the course. That might be great for all the local folks but it means nothing to us out-of-towners…in my opinion.
As always, with the help of OnStar, I arrived at the middle school without incident. However, I really had to pee and didn’t pass any gas stations (once the urge hit me) and the school was not open. I was eyeballing some bushes but decided I would just hold it until I got to the race site. The parking lot was pretty full and there was already a line for the buses. The wait was about 10 minutes so not too bad but I also did let a father/daughter combo go ahead of me since there were two seats left and I was a single.
So we get on the bus and the driver tells us that she can only take us to the traffic circle now and we have to walk the rest of the way. So…we wait 10 minutes for a two minute bus ride and then had to walk a half a mile(?) to the start. That will need fixed next year. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but remember, I still had to pee!
The first building I saw was the Osprey Pointe Pavilion. That was where packet pickup was and also a restroom. Naturally there was a line for the Women’s facility. One of the ladies for the race made an announcement that there were more restrooms at the beach house(?) but I wasn’t about to get out of line to potentially stand in another line. I just waited my turn. I knew that there was no danger of this race starting on time since there were still a ton of people waiting at the middle school when I got on the bus and that they would have to walk to the start line.
After the much needed stop in the restroom, I went outside and they had already started the prayer. Finally made my way to the start line and looked for the appropriate corral to get in. All of the “time markers” seemed bunched up (another thing they should fix for next year) but I got close to where I thought I should be and then it was time for the National Anthem. Next an announcement was made that the race would start in 8 minutes. While waiting I struck up a conversation with a Half Fanatic from Arizona. I was perplexed at first because he started talking to me like he knew me and then I realized that I had my HF hat on! He was actually in town for the Indianapolis 500 race but since there was a half marathon going on, he decided to do that as well. I think this was his first Indiana race. All of the sudden BOOM! the cannon goes off and the race has started. Ummm…maybe a countdown from 10 would have been good. (Another thing to fix next year) Anyway, we were off.
Just before the 1 mile marker, I was passed by a friend (JG) – I dated his brother in college – so we said a quick hello. I kept him in my line of sight but I knew he would be too fast for me to stick with. The n I saw another runner asked him a question and then she quickly turned around. My guess is that she was doing the 5K but missed the marker on the side of the road. It was tough to see and yet, I don’t think that distance was supposed to start yet.
Not knowing anything about the Noblesville area, I was pleasantly surprised that the course was mostly scenic. After starting out through a couple of neighborhoods, we then ran near a golf course. Prior to making the turn on to this path, I saw a woman holding a sign that said “Go Susan” to which I said the them, “Hey, that’s my name” so then in turn they yelled “Go Susan” for me. First time I’ve ever had a sign for “me” at a race…even though technically it wasn’t for me. Still I am totally laying claim to that sign. It wish I had pulled my phone out to take a picture.
As we headed toward downtown Noblesville, we ran on a bridge over the White River and to the right of us, were some railroad tracks. I often wonder when we cross tracks during a race, if the Race Directors check the train scheduled to see if anything is headed toward the course while we are on it. That would suck so much to get stopped by a train.
We then headed past the courthouse and on to Conner Street, in a Historic District . This was a brick road and was a little treacherous running on. You really had to watch your step.
I don’t know how many schools the town/city of Noblesville has but I think we ran past all of them! Finally out in a more rural area and over the White River again. After a quick turn on to a country road, I see a covered bridge ahead. That was surprising! Its wooden road was even more treacherous than that brick road!
After the covered bridge you could see the 8 mile marker & aid station. Now the confusing thing about this to me was that the trail also went left and you could see people going that way. At first I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go; was the aid station just to the side and we should go left or go right. As you got closer you could tell that most people had turned right. I wonder what those public citizens out for their morning run thought about all of these people headed their way!
This part of the course was beautiful and an absolute surprise to me. We were running along side the river on the White River Greenway paved trail for 1 1/2 miles. Not long on this path and I caught a glimpse of a man flying fishing in the river.
If this weren’t so far away from where I live, I would come here all the time to run and walk my dogs. But the best thing I saw on this portion of the course was this guy:
Initially, I ran right passed him and I think I said out loud, “Holy crap, that was a turtle!” So only a few steps more and I turned around, got my phone out of its holder and “snapped” (PUN!) a photo of him.
Okay, back to the course. We once again crossed the White River (I saw some more turtles down there sunning themselves on some logs) and then headed into a park.
As we got further into the area, I recognized that this was what we had run through before just after the golf course. So that meant there was just a little over 3 miles left.
Back in to Morse Park and crossing the finish line. It was a little disappointing that our medals were not unwrapped when they gave them to us. A little anti-climactic in my opinion. One more thing that would be good for them to fix for next year.
I saw my friend JG and his family – his wife and son did the 5K – and offered to take a family picture for them. I went back in the Pavilion to see if I could tell where I finished but wasn’t able to. There were too many other runners asking the same question which was stopping the computer feed. Back outside to grab some snacks. I then saw my friend TR and she had an amazing PR on this course and even finished first in her age group! I waited around for a little bit to hear the results of my age group but I didn’t place.
As I was heading out of the park looking for the buses to take me back the school and my car, I once again saw JG and got a ride with him and his family. Good thing. I never did see a bus and didn’t feel like walking back.
I will say that they had great snacks available after the race. There were Pop-Tarts, Muddy Buddies and (not pictured) Vanilla flavored Tootise Rolls!
But I was disappointed to learn that the MEAL tear off portion of my bib would only get me a beer. Booooo
This race offered the half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and a 1 mile kids Fun Run. 304 folks participated in the half marathon; 165 Females & 139 Males. Overall I would definitely recommend this race. I don’t know if my schedule will “permit” it again next year but if it does, I’ll probably be there.
I have to admit that aside from the turtle picture, I went back out on the course to get the rest of the photos. I’ve been trying to see if my finishing time really is better when I’m not worried about taking photos while I’m running.