Six years ago, Todd Oliver was trying to spread the word about this new event called the Carmel Marathon. He was selling the event. Calming fears about road closures and telling everyone how this 26.2-mile race will add to Carmel’s reputation.
In 2016, Oliver now sees himself less as a salesman and more of an ambassador.
“It’s really built up a strong reputation, not just in Indiana but across the country,” said Oliver, race director and founder. “And I think now a lot of business owners really see how many people come in for this event and how much it benefits the city.”
Some things have been kept the same for 2016’s race, which will be on April 16. The race courses for the half marathon and full marathon are the same as last year. There will be “cheer zones” along the roads again this year. The fitness expo will again be held at the Monon Community Center the day before.
But Oliver said he’s always looking to add new things. The courses for the 8K and 5K will be slightly altered to improve traffic flow and allow all four races to start at the same time and follow some of the same course. There’s also a new feature where a runner can run both the Carmel Half Marathon and the Geist Half Marathon on May 21 and receive an embroidered jacket, collector’s edition medal and VIP access to both events. It costs $50 to sign up for this challenge but doesn’t include entry fees for each race.
There’s also a new challenge called the AmeriFirst Sprint to the Finish, which pays cash prizes for participants who record the biggest difference between their overall pace and their last half-mile split. The top three male and female finishers will receive $100 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third in the marathon and half marathon events.
Oliver said the Carmel Marathon has built up a reputation for being a “runner’s race” because it isn’t as packed as an event such as the Mini Marathon, which boasts around 35,000 participants. The event is capped at 1,000 for the full 26.2-mile race and 2,000 for the 13.1-mile half marathon. The Carmel Marathon weekend has more than 4,000 participants between all four races, and Oliver expects attendance to be up this year.
“A lot of people say they run Carmel to go after a personal record,” he said. “A lot of time it’s so crowded that it’s hard to do your best at some other races.”
And many say the April race has better weather than May’s Mini Marathon or November’s Monumental Marathon, both in Indianapolis.
“We’re about 10 degrees difference usually than a month later,” Oliver said.
For more information, visit http://www.carmelmarathon.com/.