Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run

Kids had the chance to run the town – literally! – during the 2009 Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run, held May 17 on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. In the midst of the Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day activities, approximately 2,300 participants completed the course – all wearing the same No. 1 bib number. Because of the beautiful weather (perfect for a good run!) more than 1,000 kids registered on race day. Nearly 1,300 kids had pre-registered for the event. 500 Festival Princess Nicole Pollard began the festivities by singing the national anthem.

“I really wanted to do the Rookie Run because my dad ran the Mini,” said Katie Wereley, age 5. Werely’s father wore his OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon shirt and ran alongside Katie in her first Rookie Run. The Rookie Run allows kids ages 3-12 to participate in a kid-sized version of the nation’s largest half-marathon, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. In this non-competitive fun-run, everyone goes home a winner! All participants share the same No. 1 bib number, and everyone received a finisher’s medal and goodie bag.

“I like to run a lot,” said Lincoln Strauv, age 5. “At home I race against my dad and I can beat him!” The Rookie Run is divided into three different courses, depending on the participant’s age. Kids between the ages of 3-5 run a two-block course, kids between the ages of 6-7 run a quarter-mile course, while kids ages 8-12 run a half-mile course.

“I’m excited to run the Rookie Run because I know it’s good for me and stuff,” said Mason Cook, age 8, before his first Rookie Run start. The purpose of the Rookie Run is to promote physical fitness and to get the kids excited about the month of May in Indianapolis. The 500 Festival is a not-for-profit volunteer organization that produces over 50 events and programs that celebrate the success of the Indianapolis 500®, and enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Indiana and their guests. Many of these programs are geared directly towards kids.