May 3, 2014
- Want a half marathon with parking that is close to the start/finish line and is free?
- Want a half marathon where – unless you got seeded - it doesn’t take you 30-40 minutes from the time the official gun goes off until you cross the start line?
- Want a half marathon where you aren’t running elbows to ankles for the entire 13.1 miles?
Well, then “say hello to my little friend” - the Seymour Half Marathon.
The first Saturday in May in Indianapolis is home to the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon which is also known as “the nation’s largest Half Marathon” but just 61.5 miles south on the same day is a smaller homegrown half marathon in Seymour, IN.
Initially known as the Seymour Mini Marathon, this event was started by a group of local runners who were discourage by the fact that the race in Indianapolis would quickly sell-out and many of them could not get in. So they created their own half marathon in 2010.
2014 marked the 5th year for this event and also saw the name change to the Seymour Half Marathon. This event is also a fund raiser for the local Red Sky Rescue dog shelter. Participants are asked to bring donations (dog food, dog collars, towels, blankets, etc.) when they show up race morning. One month prior to this year’s event the Race Director stepped aside and a new one was appointed. This changed seemed extremely seamless and if we hadn’t been notified I’m not sure anyone would have noticed. This year also saw the addition of a 5K run or walk and a 1 mile dog walk. Another change in 2014 allowed people to pick up their race packets in advance starting the Wednesday before at Snap Fitness Seymour. However race morning is a great option to get your packet and begins one hour before the start.
Seymour is only about an hour drive from my house so I did not book a room at a local hotel. I did that last year and it seemed senseless since its not that long of a drive. So I set my alarm for 4:30AM (UGH!) so that I could leave the house by 6:15AM. I wanted to be there at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the race and still leave myself plenty of time in case I needed to stop at the bathroom on the way down. NEWS FLASH! I had to stop in Whiteland (40 minutes into my drive) to take care of some business.
The weather forecast was mostly favorable for the day and although I saw some very light sprinkles on my windshield on the way down, that was the only precipitation I experienced.
The race begins at Seymour High School and parking is plentiful. I found a great close spot (someone had probably left and that’s why this one was open), gathered up my donations and headed to the packet pickup table.
The school is open so you get to use indoor bathrooms - a plus in any book! Just before 8:00AM an announcement was made for participants of the half marathon to walk to the start line. There is no official starting banner or balloon arch. A brief description of the course is verbally given, there is a countdown from 10 and then the starting gun is fired.
The course had changed a little from last year. After making a counter clockwise loop along the roads surrounding the school, runners are directed toward the downtown area and then runners proceed through various neighborhoods. This makes up the first 5.5 miles of the course. The next 3 miles is an out and back on North County Road 760E where you pass the Chateau de Pique Winery. It’s only natural in southern Indiana that you would run on a county road and pass a winery! Then it’s back through various neighborhoods for the last 4.6 miles before finishing in front of the high school. The route was well staffed with volunteers in bright orange T-shirts at all busy intersections (several of which had their dogs with them) and there were hydration stations every two miles. PowerBar gels were handed out just before the 8 mile marker but since this was on the out & back if you wanted to cross the road, you could have gotten on near the 6.5 mile mark. They were also handed out again between miles 11 & 12.
One of my favorite “memories” from this race is, as I was heading back in from the turn-around I can see the police car behind the last runner. As they get closer, I run over to her side of the road, give her a high-five and tell her she is doing great. I would find out later that she was the oldest female runner (she is 61 – so not really that old) and she was the last to cross the finish line…but she DID!
Runners do not wear timing chips; as you cross the finish line, your bib number is written down but my “official” time was nearly spot-on from what my Garmin showed.
Post-race runners were offered Subway sandwiches, bananas & oranges, granola bars, waters and Gatorade. This was much better than last year (in my opinion) which was pulled pork sandwiches or something like that.
Overall male and female winners received trophies and first place age group winners (male & female) received an additional medal. Age groups were: 19 & Under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60 & Over. Not to be left out, every dog that completes the 1 mile walk gets a finishers tag.
My husband and I both participated in 2014 (read about that HERE). That year, runners received a technical T-shirt and a “dog tag” medal. This year cotton T-shirts were handed out but finishers received a more traditional medal. 98 people completed the half marathon this year.
Sadly, the date for race is being moved in 2015 and will not take place the first Saturday in May. It is moving to the third Saturday in May. I’m not sure if it hadn’t grown like they wanted it to and people were still choosing to do the Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis and they thought why make people decide between the two. Or perhaps it’s because the Indianapolis race isn’t selling out as quickly as it once did – or like this year, not at all. It is a shame that there won’t be a choice next year. Now locals will have to choose between the half in Seymour and the one in Geist.