This was my first marathon. I have been running for 3 years and decided a year ago that it was time to move up from the half marathon to the full. I trained with my Sole Sister (and 20 year younger) best friend Kala. We do not have a running coach. We do not belong to a running club. We do ask other runners a lot of questions, rely on advice from our chiropractor, and use goggle. After our last half marathon in September 2017, we decided to complete our marathon training running side by side.
Through the weeks that followed, we logged a lot of miles, starting earlier and earlier on Saturday mornings. There is nothing like a 15-20 mile run that starts in the dark, continues through the sunrise, and ends refreshed and ready to take on the day. We developed a check system to make sure our bodies and minds were still working. When race day came, there was still a little doubt if we would actually finish this. Our longest run was 21 miles, and the goal on race day was just to finish,regardless of the time.
Race day started with our usual pre-race routine: heat pad, light breakfast, double checking the weather forecast, changing our minds on what to wear. When we started the race, there were plenty of butterflies. By mile 5 we had worked our way through traffic and found our grove. I am not sure who had the biggest smile. We knew this was our day.
When we passed the split for the half and full - it was an easy choice to bear right. I know we screamed with excitement when we crossed that border. When we arrived at the State Fair, I was real confused on where we were. For some reason, the map in my head, did not have me arriving at the fair grounds in the same way as the course. Kala stopped me in front of the 38th St sign to prove to me that we were on 38th St. At the 13 mile marker, my grown kids meet us with supplies. Their race signs were getting lots of comments. It was so great to see them and to get a warm hug. It was at this point that I realized how fast we had ran the half - it was actually the fastest half I had ever ran (where is a PR bell when you need one). But on we go, as there are still more miles to run.
On we go through the neighborhoods. The spectators were great. There were young kids searching for High 5’s, riding their bikes on the sidewalks. Home owners were out tailgating, sharing jello shots, bloody-mary’s and beer with runners. On we go, smiles on our faces, just enjoying the run, scenery and spectators. When we arrived between mile 17-18 at Butler, we had a surprise as some of our co-workers showed up to cheer us on. This was a great feeling as they traveled over two hours to get here. After a short hello, we continued on to the IMA.
It was here that I hit the wall. I had given up my jacket at mile 13, and the temperature had started to drop. Kala was instrumental in keeping my head in the game. A few weeks ago, we had started a mantra, 5-4-3-2-1. Whenever we hit a hard place and we need to dig in, we kick it off with a count down of 5-4-3-2-1. From each mile here on out, we start it with 5-4-3-2-1. We continued to check our body and our mind - working out the negativity, concentrating on keeping warm, keeping the movement, and keeping our can do minds on the right track.
At mile 20 there was a large group that had some great signs. They were full of spirit. I remember there was a policeman there. We thanked him for being there as we do all police officers. He said thank you back, and told us we were doing great. I looked at him and said,”can you believe I am not dead yet?” He smiled and said, “Ma’am, you are amazing, you can do this.”
We keep running as the temps appear to drop. We see some runners at aide stations trying to warm up. I know some of them were not able to finish. Then we turn right onto Meridian Street. This long stretch felt like it was going to the south pole. Kala knows that I mentally struggle with long straight stretches. She turned and looked at me and said, “we got this. We are almost there.” We keep going, my smile started to come back.
At mile 25 there was another police officer. He was AMAZING. He was cheering us on, stating that we had 1.2 miles to go, there was a group of spectators ahead that wants to see runners, so we better dig in, pick it up , and make them happy. I wish I knew who he was, because I owe him a huge hug. We start to pick up our pace. Our heads were held high, huge smiles, and maybe a tear or two running down our checks.
Close to mile 26 I remember looking at Kala and saying, that I did not want to go dancing that night. She asked if we could still go out for tater tots, I said yes. The two runners behind us just chuckled. I think we had entertained them for the last 5 miles with our antics and conversation. When we made it to 26, Kala’s family was there cheering like crazy. It was so good to see them. When we had tenth left to go, I saw my kids. I remember looking at them and pointing to the finish line. They smiled and told me to run. Kala grabbed my hand and we crossed the finish line hand in hand with smiles on our faces.
I know this is not an amazing story to most. We are not elite runners and do not plan to be. For us, this was about the amazing journey. A story of two girls that wanted to see if they could run a marathon. Another page in our story book.
In November 2006 I was diagnosed with Head & Neck cancer. I had a modified radical neck dissection surgery in December 2006 to remove the tumor, 25 lymph nodes out of my neck, and my right tonsil. Because I was an unknown primary my surgeon recommended that I undergo radiation and a antibody treatment; which I commenced in January 2007. About half way through the 30 radiation treatments I was prescribed a fentanyl pain patch. This patched leaked too much fentanyl into my system and I began to throw up the entire next day. The following night, February 17, 2007, I threw up during my sleep and aspirated into my lungs. This is never a good thing. My wife found me nearly dead in bed the next morning; whereby the EMT's were called in and took me to Community North hospital. To make a long story short I nearly died in the ER, finally was stabilized and was in the ICU for the next 11 days, put on a respirator for the first 4 of those days, and on dialysis for 30 days.
I had incurred what is called hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain, which caused a pretty serious brain injury; limiting my speech and literally changing me from an extrovert to an introvert. After being in Community North for 30 days, I was transferred to the brain injury unit at Community East, where I began pretty intense speech, occupational and physical therapy. After 30 more days in the Community East brain injury rehab unit I had advanced enough that I was eligible for outpatient rehab. I spent the next 90 days in the Hook outpatient rehab facility, undergoing intense speech, occupational, and physical therapy, 8 hours a day, five days a week.
When I entered the outpatient rehab center I underwent various cognitive and other type of testing; my family was told that the results were not promising and that it was likely that I would never be able to return to my commercial real estate banking job; as well, I would likely never be able to drive myself again. However, through hard work and determination I passed both the Hook Rehabilitation center drivers test, but past the Indiana State drivers test. As well, I returned to my commercial banking position shortly thereafter . In May 2014 I walked across the stage at Anderson University to receive my MBA certificate. I was back!
Then, in 2011 I was in a car accident where I had to be cut out of the vehicle by rescue workers, and transported to a level one hospital (St. Vincent's - 86th Street). I had broken my right leg, and my femur was push through my hip socket; as well, seriously messed up my right ankle to the point where I still can not dorsiflex that foot. When I woke up in the hospital I had an external fixator connected to my right leg. It was there to hold my leg and hip in place until the swelling went down, so that they could operate. During the operation the Orthoindy surgeon put me back together using 9 screws and two metal strips in my lower leg, just below my knee, and the same on my hip socket. I was "non-weight baring" for the next 3 months, on a walker for the following 2 months and walked with a cane for the next month. Long story short, when my surgeon was taking the staples out of my leg and hip I asked him if I would ever run again; his answer was "NO"; not likely at all!
So, when Team World Vision came to my church in June 2017 and presented the opportunity to bring clean water to children in Africa by running a 1/2 marathon, I thought I would give it a try. I hadn't run seriously since I graduated from college in 1984. So I was literally a couch to half marathon in training. Starting July 3, 2017, using the work-out schedule provided by Team World Vision, I began to find my stride. After 4 months of training, which included approximately 600+- miles, I accomplished my 13.1 mile run on November 4th 2017. By the way, I raised $1,775 dollars that will provide 36 children with clean water for the rest of their lives. There were 800+ Team World Vision participants in the 2017 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental race; raising more than $630,000 dollars for clean water; bringing it to approximately 12,600 African children.
That is my story.
My name is Roger Gammon. I am 58 years old and this years' CNO Financial Indianapolis Half Marathon will be extra special to me this year based on a series of events that occurred last year.
On 10-31-16, my mother passed away which, to say the least, was a low moment in my life. In Honor of my Mother, I was determined to dedicate running the 2016 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. While running I surprisingly collapsed just before the 2-mile mark tearing three of my four hamstrings which required me to walk with crutches for the next two months.
If falling down and getting injured wasn't discouraging enough a month later on 12-13-16 I found out that I had Stage 4 Cancer which, with everything else going on, made the Christmas Season a low moment for my entire family.
During March 2017, thanks to my family, friends and the Good Lord I finished my cancer treatments.
Since my hamstring tears were all level-three tears and with my depleted body from the cancer treatments I was so weak in April 2017 I started walking a half mile a day to build my strength and stamina, with one goal: to finish the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon for Momma even though it's a year old promise.
Even though my time this year will not be comparable to previous years (I ran a 1:30 at the Monumental in 2014 When I was 55 1/2 years old) the fact that the Good Lord gave me more time to spend with those I love and to fulfill my promise to finish this year's half marathon in honor of my mother is overwhelming to say the least.
I am running better each week and slowly building up my base even though my right leg is not fully healed.
Last week I was told that my CT Cancer Test reflected that there is no sign of cancer anywhere in my body.
I am living proof that the best man for a job is a woman because my mom was one the person who taught me to never quit or to give up on my dreams, as well as Jennifer Stewart a Nurse Practitioner who first observed the tumor in my throat and kept on me to see a specialist to test the tumor which 100% saved my life. I am also alive because Doctor Sarah Ali who was over my chemotherapy treatments treated me like I was her own brother verses a patient, as she helped me get through some rough times when I was ready to quit my cancer treatments.
Doctor Garrett who was over the radiation treatments and Doctor Fang who surgically removed my malignant tumor were also a great reason I survived cancer to race again.
It is great to be alive.
Even though I competed in running events in High School and College this year's CNO Financial Indianapolis Half Marathon will be truly a Monumental Day to me as well as the most meaningful race of my life which I will be running in honor of my mother.
Failure will not be an option. Even though this year will not be a record time I am so thankful to the Lord and those caring Physicians who pieced me back together to live to see another day. My friends, I will return better than before but for now I am just thankful to race another race at the Monumental and to live to see another day.
Sincerely Roger Gammon
Back on My Feet is excited to participate in this year’s CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon; for Back on My Feet, this will be the organization’s seventh consecutive year participating in the full marathon, half marathon and 5K races.
Back on My Feet is a national nonprofit organization which combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources. Back on My Feet has been serving the Indianapolis community since 2011.
In addition to being the 10th anniversary for the Monumental, this year’s marathon race will be particularly special for one member of Back on My Feet (BoMF.) Meet Wes; he has been involved with BoMF Indy since December 2016. Wes was living in Pathway to Recovery, which is provides safe, affordable, substance-free housing for more than 94 homeless men, women, and families. He sought salvation at Pathway to Recovery after many years of living on the streets, battling addiction.
Since joining BoMF, Wes has fallen in love with running.
“BoMF introduced me to running,” Wes said. “I think I always loved running but BoMF helped me find my love for it. I love to run!”
Wes has participated in numerous races around Indy, including two half-marathons; this Fall’s Monumental will be his first full marathon distance.
“I recently completed my first 18-mile training run and it blows my mind that I still have 8 more miles to go when racing a marathon,” Wes reflected. “Overall, [my training] has been going very well and I have been getting so much love and support from so many different people. Everyone is so excited for me and I have found something that I can look forward to, that I love doing.”
One future training opportunity that Wes is looking forward to the most is BoMF Indy’s own race, the Marathon Relay. The Marathon Relay is a unique race in which teams of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 individuals split up a marathon distance via a 2.2 mile loop in White River State Park. Each year, BoMF also encourages participants to utilize the Marathon Relay for their Monumental training.
“This will be my first time participating in the Marathon Relay,” Wes said. “I’ve heard that the event is a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to the fellowship during the event. I also am planning on using this as an opportunity to get another long training run in for my Monumental race. I’m looking forward to using this race to run with my teammates, it will make my usually solo training runs more fun!”
BoMF encourages all Monumental participants to use the Marathon Relay as one of their long training runs. The race is supported with water, Gatorade and race nutrition and it will also help raise funds for BoMF’s mission. Running while giving back to your local community – it’s a win-win!
Consider putting together a team for this year’s Marathon Relay. Race your long run #RelayStyle. It’ll be your best training run, guaranteed!
Submitted by Rob Rueff
It’s hard to believe that the 10th CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon will be my fifth overall time racing 13.1 miles with my 14-year-old son, Ryan, since he began running with me in March of 2015.
Ryan was diagnosed with autism when he was 18-months old. During the winter of 2015, Ryan would wake us up in the morning with the thumping of his feet and his laughter by running around the first floor of our house.
At the urging of my wife, Wendy, I took him on a run. We noticed by running with me in the mornings, Ryan is more focused for the rest of the day. Since we homeschool, we can tell the difference between the days Ryan does or doesn’t run. On the days when he seems to lose his concentration, we have him stop his school work and we do some quick exercises to get him back on track.
Ryan spent December of last year and January of this year recovering from having a subungual osteochondroma removed from the big toe of his left foot. He returned to running the first week of February just in time to begin training for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.
When we ran the 5K of last year’s Monumental, it was already known that Ryan needed the surgery to remove the bone spur from his toe. We continued to train and even went for the shake-out run with United States Olympic marathoner Jared Ward the morning prior to the race. Ryan set a new Personal Record in the 5K with a time of 21:40.
Now, Ryan looks to break his PR in the half marathon for the second time this year with his debut in the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. Even though we were conservative with his training this spring, Ryan beat his previous time in May at the Mini with a time of 1:48:12.
After our experience running the 5K last year we felt it was only natural for us to move up to the half marathon this year for Monumental. We began building our base mileage back up in June in preparation for our training. We are already over 30 miles a week including double-digit long runs as the real training part started at the beginning of this month. Ryan also started running on a newly formed homeschool-cross-country team on the southside of Indianapolis through the sports club Genesis United.
We are running Monumental because it gives us a chance to run through another part of Indianapolis that we haven’t previously experienced with other races in the city. It’s also a new opportunity for us to run with friends we have made throughout the Indianapolis running community in one of the nation’s premier running events.
For whatever reason, Ryan brings us running up a notch when he runs in Indianapolis. I see that being the case again when we enter our corral for the start of the Monumental Half Marathon.
Ryan says he has three numbers he wants to beat running this year’s Monumental Half Marathon. He’s not telling anyone – no even his Mom or me – what they are unless he tops one or all of them on Nov. 4.
My name is David Wilkerson I have been asked to do a blog for the upcoming CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon! I am excited about this opportunity to share what running has done for me and offer tips and insights regarding training, nutrition, injury prevention and motivation.
First a little bit about me. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. I am married and have two amazing teenagers that keep me on my toes! I started running when I was 12 years old because my mom wouldn’t let me play football, which at the time I was very disappointed about. Then, good friend talked me into trying cross country and track and here I am! I ran in middle school, high school and college and most recently have been coaching girl’s cross country at a local area high school.
When I first started running I didn’t really understand what I was doing and it took me some time to figure out this crazy sport that I was now participating in. After running many miles with a lot of patience I finally started to figure it all out and it has truly helped shape me into the person I am today. I have been running both competitively and leisurely for over 25 years.
With running I have experienced both the highs of highs and the lows of lows that come with this sport and through every experience I have learned something about myself in the process. My goal is to share my views and personal experiences that I have gone through and have seen with my years of running and coaching. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with everyone and hope you find the blog to be very beneficial and motivating.
Let me introduce you to my high-school sweetheart, my wife of twenty years, my one true love, my soul-mate, Kim Whited. Kim is a forty-something mother of two adolescent boys and beloved kindergarten teacher for nearly 450 sweet little kiddos in her 19 years of teaching. She is the youngest in a family of 14 children (think Brady Bunch here). In the last few years, to her own surprise, she has become a determined runner. “Oh, I’ll never be a runner!” she once said. And now, after September 12th 2016, she is a stroke survivor. Yes, a stroke-survivor. It’s amazing how you can become what you never thought you might be.
While attending a family wedding in northern Michigan in September, Kim decided to take advantage of the beauty around her and go for a 6-mile run before the wedding. She had a great run, but started getting a terrible headache at the reception while the music pounded and the family celebrated. Little did we know that it was the beginning of a stroke caused by a blot clot in a sinus cavity of her brain. By the next day after headaches persisted, we were back home in Indiana at a hospital, where her condition was misdiagnosed - even following a CT scan. “Her brain is fine!” piped the ER doctor following the scan, “She has a severe sinus infection, however.” It wasn’t until the following day, nearly 36 hours after the headache began, that a second hospital correctly identified that she was experiencing a blood clot and a hemorrhage in her brain. Her neurologists told us that this was a rare type of stroke, affecting only 1 in 200,000 people. Kim received treatment for five days in the nuero-intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital, and another two weeks in a regular room and inpatient physical therapy hospital in Indianapolis. At one point during her therapy, Kim had no use of her left arm and was only able to walk a few slow steps at a time, but she was walking, and was eventually able to go home on October 1. Her doctors pointed to the fact that she was a runner and had “strong legs” as providing her a head start on her recovery and physical therapy.
Kim has gradually made slow but significant progress. After many weeks of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, she was able to resume driving in November and return working full time in her Kindergarten class in March. Recently, she has actually started running again. In fact, she completed the 5k at the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May and is now turning her sights towards the Monumental Half-Marathon in November. We were planning to run the Monumental for the first time in 2016, and then the stroke happened. Although this 2017 race seems a bit daunting for her at this point, as she considers this challenge she reverts back to a simple mantra that she has relied upon throughout her recovery: “I CAN do hard things!”. She is humbled by the countless people who have called her “inspiring” and who refer to her as a “miracle”. Kim shrugs off the personal credit for her recovery, referring to her strong faith and the unwavering encouragement and prayers from her friends, her school family, her church family, and her enormous biological family.
“Make the most of every day of your life, because you simply don’t know what tomorrow holds for you.” shrugs Kim. “Why not? That’s my new motto. It shouldn’t take a life-threatening medical event to get you to start living right now!”
Meet Neale Johantgen, Event Operations Manager. He’s the newest member of the Beyond Monumental staff. Neale comes from a background in Track and Field, but doesn’t consider himself “a runner”. That being said, he’s in the middle of training to run his first marathon at Grandma’s marathon on June 17, 2017 – which begs the question “why?”
You say you’re not a runner – what experience did you have before working here?
I worked at USATF (USA Track & Field), the National Governing Body for the sport that is also based in Indianapolis, for almost seven years. I interned there after graduating from IU and just never left! I worked in multiple areas over the years. I updated the website, then moved on to general IT, and then to events. And I assisted with some office operations throughout all of that. I traveled quite a bit, working 7 Outdoor National Championships, 4 Indoor National Championships, 3 Olympic Trials, and 1 World Championships, along with various other major events.
Describe your relationship with running:
I joined my schools track team in eighth grade. I ran the 800m and threw Shot Put, because those seemed like a logical combination. I placed seventh in the city wide meet in Shot Put. I’m fairly certain only nine people competed. But I got a ribbon!
I didn’t start running until after I graduated college. I had a few friends who were training for a half marathon and I was working with several former collegiate runners at USATF, so it was more peer pressure that pulled me in than anything else. I’d go running with my friends and I’d always finish several minutes behind them. Demoralizing? Sure, but I got used to it and just ran at my own pace, running just fast enough to not get lost. It worked out in the end!
Ever since then, I’ve run to maintain a reasonable fitness level. I can’t say I’m always successful at it, but my habits have gotten better over the years. I’m a competitive person, but I know my limits. Like everything else in life, it’s about finding the right balance for yourself. For me, that means getting out to run more often than not, but knowing I won’t be winning races anytime soon. I’m ok with that.
Why are you running a marathon?
When I interviewed for this job – which I didn’t know was an interview at the time – I was asked if I would ever consider running a marathon. “Ha! That’s hilarious! Why would I do that to myself?” It was a hard no for me. But when the job was offered, I knew I wanted it. And Blake Boldon, our former Executive Director, told me he thought it was important for me to pick a marathon to run in my first year working here. The joke is “I’m running a marathon because Blake told me to.” But his reasoning, why he thought this was so important, is part of what sold me on working here. You can’t ask someone to run your race if you wouldn’t run it yourself. I wanted a job where I would be doing something I enjoy, at a company that supports the community, with a product or service that I genuinely believe in. For that to be true, I better be willing to run 26.2 miles.
So, I had to ask myself: am I willing to run 26.2 miles? I have close friends who have run several. Like I said, I’m a competitive person. If they can do it, I can do it. On top of that, some people laugh when I tell them I’m running. I get a very deep John Locke from Lost attitude – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” I just turned 30 and it feels like a good milestone to reach for at this age. I have friends in the industry and I’ve worked multiple marathons. I see how much work goes into it, and I’ve always appreciated the time and effort. I’d like to experience what it’s like to run one of their events and see it from the other side. And finally, I try to say yes as much as possible. I didn’t have a good reason to say no. So why not?
What did your first year at the Beyond Monumental teach you about marathons?
First, it’s a lot more work than you would think. You think “how do you spend all year on one event?” There are internal tasks like marketing, warehouse cleaning and organization, volunteer coordination, sponsorship outreach – these all require year round planning and communication. Then there are tasks with outside vendors and organizations – medal and shirt design, printing signage, ordering awards, working with registration platforms and timing companies. Not only are they vital activities with year-long timelines, they are relationships that you must work every day to build and maintain. Each member of our staff – and on most marathon staffs, I imagine – wears a lot of hats and has a lot of responsibilities. We have a point person for each area, but we all back each other up. I enjoy these types of roles and I think they produce the best, most well rounded events.
Second, you can’t do any of this alone. I mentioned volunteers – and I cannot overstate how vital they are. I started at Beyond Monumental right in the middle of crunch time, and I didn’t get my feet under me until after the event was over in November. There are multiple volunteers who taught me how to do things along the way and were telling me what was next, simply because this was their second, third, fourth, or whatever year with the event. That kind of experience is key, and it doesn’t just make our jobs easier. It makes the event possible.
What has training for your first full marathon taught you?
Do you have any goals the race?
To finish. To actually eat breakfast before I run for once. And to jump into Lake Superior once I finish.
What is the best thing about Indianapolis?
There is no single “best” thing about Indianapolis. I like being able to walk everywhere if I want to. I hope people appreciate all the monuments the Cultural Trail, and the Canal Walk – they’re truly great pieces of our city. I love eating lunch at the City Market. I love movie nights with Indy Film Fest. I’ve always been a huge sports fan, so it has everything that I could hope for in that area. We put on world class events, year after year. And the food. Oh, the food. Rook, Milktooth, Nick’s Chili Parlor, Fat Dan’s Deli: they all own a piece of my heart, and most of my wallet. And the drinks! There’s too many breweries to name, but there’s always a special place on my shelf for Central State, Tax Man, and Black Acre. And my treat after my long runs? A daiquiri from Black Market. It’s glorious. Take a nap first though, or it will knock you out.
by Amy Weichert Hunter
After that, a friend encouraged me to train for a half marathon. I thought, okay, why not? What do I have to lose? After Jake died I felt like there was nothing more to lose, so why not? I was starting to enjoy running, and the relief it brought me from the stress, anxiety and pain of grief was more than I could have ever expected. So I signed up. But it was hard.
What I didn’t expect to happen was that I had a lot of running miles to think about Jake. When I was running, I could cry or not cry. (I did more crying than not) I could scream out loud, I could use every bit of my anger about Jake’s death and pour it into running. I would come home spent day after day. But I always went back out. The whole endeavor scared me but I went back out. Day after day I went back out and ran.
by Judy Hasselkus
I’m not the only one who became smitten in those early days. Consider Ted Maple, president and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. The inaugural race of the IMM was his restart to a running career. It gave him something to shoot for when he began running again in July of that year. “Who knows if running would be as much of my life as it is today?” he ponders. “I’ve seen the race grow over the years and become an incredible event. Early Learning Indiana, the organization for which I work, has participated in the children’s event and one of our Day Early Learning centers is on the half-marathon course on Central Avenue. Some of our staff volunteer at the water station near our center. It is a highlight of my run every year to run by our center and see our staff cheering people on.” And Maple reports that Beyond Monumental has become more than a race, but also a family event for him. He ran the race with his son, Jonah (age 12) in 2016. Running with Jonah in his first half-marathon will always be one of Maple’s favorite memories of the Monumental. It’s a “dad thing.”
Brian Schuetter, Indy Runners Medical Liaison and coordinator of Saturday runs, ran the Monumental as a half during the inaugural event. “I’ve done the half six times and the full three times,” he reports. This year, he’ll run the full marathon again. It is, he says, a “great tour of our city.” Schuetter also celebrates Beyond Monumental as a sort of “family reunion” for runners—in which “50% of the folks out there—racers, organizers, fans”—capture the “get your friends together and put on a race” element that combines with Hoosier hospitality for visitors, and a first-class race for the elite field, to create a world-class event. As Schuetter rightly observes, “This is not a small balancing act to pull off. I am impressed with how the Beyond Monumental group has continued this.”
When asked about favorite memories of the event over the past 10 years, Schuetter recalls a favorite memory from 2016 when Indy Runners, Carmel Runners, Back on My Feet, Wayne Township schools, and many others paid tribute to a member of the running community, Erika Wells, who was killed on her bike on 10/12/2016. Though I, personally, have had many awesome memories of this event over the past 10 years, four that stand out are the tributes to Erika in 2016; the bright green t-shirts of local students who participated in the event, which benefits education; meeting marathon Guinness World Record Holder and Arizona resident Larry Macon on the course near the IMA in 2010 while running my first marathon (when he encouraged me and got my novice marathoner self through mile 18 or so); and experiencing the growth of the event without it losing its warmth. “The tone is set from the organizers,” says Schuetter. “We’re welcoming everyone to our neighborhood and making them as comfortable as possible as they pursue their goals.”
So, what keeps those of us who were there for the inaugural event coming back year after year after year (Maple, Schuetter, and I have participated in EVERY one)? For Maple, it is the family-friendly nature of the event. “Both my wife, Johanna, and one of my sons, Jonah, are runners, and this is one of the highlights of our year. Also, it is just a great race. The weather is almost always wonderful. The course is nice and flat. It is fun to be downtown. The event has such great energy.” Maple enthuses: “We love the Monumental and will keep coming back.” For Schuetter, it is the family feel of the event and its commitment to local schools and childhood wellness programs as well as the way the Monumental “acts as a sort of end-of-the-running-year get together for the running family.” For me, it is all of those things and more.
Indeed, outstanding stuff.
Join us in November, won’t you?
Judy Hasselkus has an extensive collection of IMM bibs. And medals. And shirts. Look for her out on the course in November!