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MONUMENTAL MILE
THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2019

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Top Ten Memorable Sights and Sounds from the 2016 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Top Ten Memorable Sights and Sounds from the 2016 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Judy Hasselkus

PR Newswire reported that the 2016 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was a “huge success on an ideal day for running.” As a participant, I couldn’t agree more.

More than 1,000 students graduated from the Monumental Kids Movement. More than 20 companies took part in the third annual Apex Monumental Challenge employee health and wellness competition. The marathon set a new event record with 4,175 marathon finishers. The half marathon was a sellout for the first time and had a record 8,114 finishers. Including the marathon, half marathon and 5K, the number of finishers exceeded 15,000. New course records were set in the half marathon and the 5K.

And there were so many memorable moments—sights and sounds worth savoring. Please join me for a moment as we revisit ten of them (in no particular order):

  • The fans! Oh the fans!  From the people lined up 2, 3, or 4 deep along the course in downtown Indy to the lone volunteer at mile 20.5 (a barren spot in the race) “cheering her tail off” to the Team World Vision Cheer Zone to the residents in neighborhoods along the course who cheered from their porches or sidewalks, to the Indy Runners/Carmel Running Club tent a few blocks from the finish line—the fan support was truly beyond monumental.
  • Signs – lots of funny signs!  My personal favorite was black ink on white poster board with the words Motivational Sign. But, how about these: “Pain is temporary. Internet race results are FOREVER.” “Run like you’re chasing a hot guy and being followed by a creepy one.” “Tap here for power.” (The fan holding it chanted “power up” every time a runner touched the sign). Another favorite: “Only Postal Carriers Walk.”

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  • The volunteers!  They greeted thousands of us at the expo with gifts of commemorative posters, offered words of encouragement, took photos of us on our cell phones, handed out race shirts, said thousands of “Have a great run tomorrow!”s. They carried “ask me” signs and answered thousands of questions. They staffed water stops and poured Gatorade. They cheered us on at turns in the course, placed medals around our necks and offered hats and blankets when we finished. They were the perfect “road crew.” (Thank you, volunteers!)

  • Erika Smiles Tributes.  Surely you saw them: the bibs, patches, ribbons, wristbands. They honored Erika Wells, a much-loved kindergarten teacher, track coach, Girls on the Run supporter, member of Indy Runners, marathoner and triathlete. Erika lost her life in mid-October when struck by a vehicle while riding her bike. The running community honored Erika’s memory in a touching show of support during Saturday’s race.

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  • Those students in bright green race t-shirts (Monumental Kids).  It began as a pilot program at IPS Super School 19 with a goal of teaching kids the benefits of exercise, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. On Saturday, hundreds of students from IPS and metro area schools showed up in bright green shirts and participated in the 5K – a 3.1 mile victory lap for completing the Monumental Kids Movement program. It was a visual reminder that the Monumental is a race with an important mission.

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  • IPS Drum Line.  The cadence of a drum line in Broad Ripple helped more than a few runners keep pace at about mile 13.
  • Creative (ahem) Offers of Food and Beverage along the Course. Candied bacon around mile 12. PBR. Bloody Mary mix. Leftover Halloween Candy. Yep, not your traditional race fuel!

  • Public Safety Officials.  We thanked them at the intersections, but we can’t thank them enough—the officers from IMPD and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department kept us safe and traffic orderly. One on 10th Street even entertained us with party music from his squad car.
  • The starting line instruction to “report to your carrels.”  This made for a good laugh in the corral. One runner friend observed: “I thought he was directing runners who hadn’t done their homework back to their study carrels.”

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  • The finish line!  The finish line, the beautiful finish line! How inspiring to see marathoners and half marathoners bring it home—some looking fresh, some struggling, some overcome by emotion or exhaustion. How awesome to see Carlton Ray high-five students who completed the 5K. How funny to see a runner dressed as a hot dog cross the marathon finish line! How cool to see a 19 year old finish his first marathon and celebrate a Boston qualifier finish time! And, once again, how cool to see cheering fans lining the barricades! As one running friend put it: “The finish line crowd is always a highlight. They really get into it and help push you in.”

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If you missed your chance to be Beyond Monumental in 2016: no worries. Registration for 2017 will open January 1.

Judy Hasselkus is already looking forward to the 10th anniversary of the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2017 so she can complete her commemorative medal set. (What a girl won’t do for a little bling!) Props to fellow runners Trena, Rose, Jesse, Kay, Brian, Dave, Tom, Steve, Jen, Rose, Chelsa, Kelly, Scott, Monic, and Karen –three with PRs on Saturday (woo hoo!), one who returned to running after a 14 year break, and one who raised significant funds for World Vision—for contributing ideas to this blog post.  ​​​