INDIANAPOLIS – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the legacy of the Indianapolis 500, today announces the organization’s partnership with Special Olympics athlete and elite runner, Andrew Peterson. Peterson, who is just the second Special Olympics athlete to qualify for the Boston Marathon, will serve as a 500 Festival running ambassador. He will collaborate with the 500 Festival to promote running throughout Indiana and will be an important part of the festivities leading up to and during the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.
“I love running and I can’t explain how exciting it is to be a big part of one of the nation’s largest half marathons, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon,” said Peterson. “I ran the 500 Festival 5K seven times before taking on the challenge of the Indy Mini, which I’ve now run three times. I’ve got a big goal for the 2018 Indy Mini – finish the race in 1:15, six minutes faster than my current half marathon PR. Partnering with the 500 Festival has inspired me and I hope that I can inspire others to push themselves.”
Not slowed by being born with an intellectual disability from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Peterson is an inspiration to runners everywhere. While Boston includes runners with disabilities each and every year, Peterson is the first Special Olympics athlete to qualify officially on time in more than 35 years, and only the second to do so in the history of the Boston Marathon.
While he’ll wait to compete at Boston until 2019, Peterson will help the 500 Festival reach and engage new runners and Special Olympics athletes through the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon this spring, and promote inclusivity and youth involvement in the sport of running in general. Indy Mini participants can meet Peterson at the 2018 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo and other 500 Festival running events, including the JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run, the 500 Festival mini-mini, and more. He will also serve as a green flag starter for the 500 Festival 5K, and will join the elite field of runners in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. More details about his availability at the Expo will be announced closer to the event.
“Andrew is the perfect example of a champion athlete to represent the 500 Festival at this year’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, and we’re excited to make him the first-ever 500 Festival running ambassador,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “Not only is he a wonderful young man, but he’s a hero in the running community. For someone from Indianapolis to make history the way he has, we couldn’t afford not to bring him on board and follow his journey to Boston over the next year.”
About the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
One of the nation’s largest half marathons, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is the 500 Festival’s largest fundraiser. Race registrations help support the 500 Festival’s free youth programs and events. 2018 will mark the 42nd running of the race.
The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is a flat, fast course perfect for runners and walkers alike. It starts in downtown Indianapolis and travels west for a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the home of the Indy 500, before returning to the city for the finish.
With more than 15 aid stations, nearly 100 entertainment groups and thousands of volunteers and cheering spectators lining the course, there’s nothing like the heart pounding excitement of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. The start and finish lines are within walking distance of hotels, restaurants, shopping, and the Post Race Party following the race in downtown Indy’s Military Park is the perfect way to celebrate the accomplishment of participants.
Now through February 28, the Mini-Marathon registration fee is $79. Pricing will continue to increase throughout the spring.
Mar. 1 – May 1 $89
Expo (May 3 & 4) $100
The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is sponsored by OneAmerica, Franciscan Health and Meijer. The Mini-Marathon will be broadcast to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13.