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INDY HALF MARATHON AT FORT BEN
OCTOBER 6TH, 2018

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A Monumental Year

A Monumental Year

Eric Gray
When you first start running, you hear a lot about a turning point when you go from casual runner to obsession. The 2013 Monumental half marathon was my turning point. It showed me that I could achieve things I thought I’d never be able to do.

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I just finished my third Monumental half two weeks ago. It took me a while to gather my thoughts. The Monumental was a perfect way to cap off a great year of races. 2013 was my first half marathon but this years’ Monumental was special for different reasons.

I was lucky enough to get to work with an incredibly passionate Monumental team to rebrand the race. It’s been really cool to see the race grow with the city. If a growing reputation for being one of the nation’s best races wasn’t enough, a new title sponsorship put the Monumental in position to go big. After our initial meeting, I couldn’t wait to get started. It was such an honor to be able to do something to share my love for this event and my hometown to the running community. The Soldiers and Sailors monument is visually synonymous with Indianapolis and had been used in past iterations of the race logo. I wanted to honor that history while making it feel modern and dynamic.

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From the launch of the new branding at the Monumental Mile in June to race day two weeks ago, it’s been amazing to keep working with the Monumental team and see everything come together. It’s also really cool to see the impact on my community that this race creates. Monumental puts so much back into youth health initiatives in our city.

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I can’t really describe the pride in seeing my work on banners around the city, on the finisher medals and on the shirts of so many runners. It doesn’t feel real. Race day was one of my proudest career moments and I’m so glad it was with this organization and event.

So how was my race? Amazing. This was one of the most mentally composed races I’ve ever run. It wasn’t my best half, but it wasn’t my worst. I really wanted to break 2:00, but after sustaining some pretty solid injuries during Chicago just three weeks before, I knew that likely wasn’t in the cards. I had a great time running and have always enjoyed this course. Considering I had a torn tendon in my foot that was still healing, I held a pretty strong pace for the first 9-10 miles. I started fading there but was able to adjust a little and keep on rolling. In the end, I finished at 2:18. This race was also really fun because so many people from my agency were running. Since we had done the branding work, our owners offered to pay for anyone who wanted to run. We had 13 people run the full or half (many people running their first race) and a few others volunteered.

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The Monumental Marathon challenges runners, volunteers and spectators to Be Monumental. After that first half marathon in 2013, I took that to heart. I’ve kept running hard since. But 2016 was a dream year for a beginning runner. I set some big goals. After running three half marathons from 2013-2015, this year I ran three half marathons, was lucky enough to run my first full marathon at the Chicago Marathon and got to leave my mark on a nationally recognized marathon that just happens to be my hometown marathon. I also fell short of some goals. I’ve still got a sub 2:00 half to run and I know can do much better than that first marathon. I’m excited to get some rest, let injuries heal and get ready for next year’s goals. I’ve already set my sights on a new marathon PR at the 2017 Monumental Marathon.

#BeMonumental