American Olympic Hopeful and American Long Distance Running Icon Team Up to Inspire Indy Mini Participants, Raise Money for Bid
INDIANAPOLIS (March 5, 2020) The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announced that Futsum Zienasellassie and Meb Keflezighi have teamed up to set the pace for the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. As the official Pacesetters for this year’s Indy Mini, the duo are challenging the community to register and finish America’s Best Half Marathon faster than 2:12.43 – a combination of Meb’s Indy Mini PR (1:10:59) and Futsum’s Half Marathon PR (1:01.44). The 500 Festival will donate $1 towards Futsum’s Olympic support for every Indy Mini participant that finishes faster than the duo’s combined time.
Futsum Zienasellassie is an Eritrean-born American long distance runner, two time US Olympic Trials Qualifier and recently won his first USA National Title, winning the 2019 USATF 10 Mile Championship. After living in his native country of Eritrea, Futsum and some of his siblings joined his father in the U.S. at the age of 11. He attended North Central High School in Indianapolis, where he was a seven-time state champion. He is aiming to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters.
“I am proud to team up with Meb to serve as the official Pacesetter for the 2020 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon – an event that is so meaningful to Hoosiers,” said Zienasellassie. “The people of Indiana have truly embraced me throughout my running career. To have the support of the 500 Festival and Indy Mini participants, it’s truly meaningful. I hope that we can inspire Hoosiers to make the commitment to participate in the 2020 Indy Mini just as they have inspired me to do my best at the Olympic Trials.”
Called “The most influential person in running,” by Runner’s World, Keflezighi is best known for his silver medal in the 2004 Olympics, as well as victories in the 2009 TCS New York City Marathon and the 2014 Boston Marathon. He’s also the only runner to win both U.S. races and an Olympic medal in the marathon distance. Meb has supported the Indy Mini in many ways, most recently in 2018 when he ran the race.
“The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is a very special race for me and I’ve always enjoyed being part of it over the years. It is a special race where the participants, the cheering sections, and the volunteers encourage each other in a unique Indy Mini style (culture). I’m proud to team up with Futsum to serve as the 2020 Pacesetter and hope that others feel inspired to run in 2020 in support of Futsum’s Olympics pursuit.”
“For more than 40 years, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon has been an iconic tradition for Hoosiers and others around the world. We’re proud to join forces with Futsum and Meb to set the pace for this year’s Indy Mini,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “We hope the Pacesetters inspire our community to accept the challenge and register for the Mini-Marathon. And on May 2, let’s come together to finish fast like Futsum and show our support for one of Indiana’s own ahead of the Olympic trials in June.”
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, which impacted 100,000 kids in 2019 alone.
Named the Best Half Marathon in America as well as one of “America’s Most Iconic Races” by Runners World, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is one of the nation’s largest half marathons (for the past 20 years) and annually attracts participants from all 50 states and 15+ countries around the world. Known as The Greatest Spectacle in Running, the race starts and finishes in downtown Indianapolis and includes a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. The flat, fast course is packed with thousands of the nicest volunteers you’ll ever meet, 16 course aid stations and nearly 500 course entertainers. The start and finish lines are within walking distance of downtown Indy’s hotels, restaurants, shopping, and other attractions.
New in 2020, participants will experience two iconic sports venues as the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo will be held on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The 2020 Indy Mini participant shirt and finisher medal are sure to please as it bridges together history and tradition with progress and innovation. As participants cross the finish line, they will be handed a commemorative medal that pays tribute to the Hulman-George legacy while celebrating their accomplishment.
The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is sponsored by OneAmerica, Delta Dental, Franciscan Health, Genesys, and Meijer. The Mini-Marathon will be broadcast to the Indianapolis market on WTHR, Channel 13. To register for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, or to learn more, visit www.indymini.com/register or search #IndyMini on social media.
About the 500 Festival
Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500® and foster positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $500 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.