Thousands prepare for Mini-Marathon Saturday | ICIN

The 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist will be back at IMS, encouraging runners during Saturday’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

INDIANAPOLIS — A familiar face will be back on the Yard of Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Saturday’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

Frank Shorter, who won the gold medal in the 1972 Olympic marathon, will be alongside 13Sports director Dave Calabro as thousands of participants pass by the iconic start-finish line at IMS. Shorter ran in the first Mini-Marathon 46 years ago and said things were a little different then.

“It was so much fun. We started downtown at the monument, the tower there, and then we ran out to the Speedway and finished at the Yard of Bricks,” Shorter said. “The race was so small that on the way, we went through a golf course and over a golf cart bridge. The entire field went over a bridge about as wide as two of these doors.”

The field will be much larger Saturday, with nearly 20,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes making their way through the 13.1-mile course from Washington Street, through the near west side and Speedway, then across the finish line at Military Park. 

RELATED: Up to 20,000 expected to take part in Saturday’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon

“It was so satisfying for me to find out that there were so many people that loved to do exactly what I do, which is one step in front of the other across the ground. Some people just love to do this,” Shorter said.

While the Mini starts with a group of elite runners racing for cash prizes, Shorter said the thousands of other runners, who will fill out the rest of the field as they run or walk to top a personal best or enjoy the event with family and friends are what make the race special.

“It really is about the people in the back of the pack,” Shorter said. “One of the things we really tried to do early on was to convince all the invited runners, ‘You can be here and you can run for the money and everything, but it’s because of all those people behind you that this can happen.'”

The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon starts Saturday at 7 a.m. You can watch it live on 13News and on WTHR.com.

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