This year’s Grand Marshal is Frank Shorter, Olympic gold medalist and the winner of the first OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Shorter became a household name in 1972 when he championed the gold medal at the Munich Olympics. He was the first American winner of the Olympic Marathon, and no man from the United States has won since. Four years later, he went on to win the silver medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Shorter is the only American athlete to win two medals in the Olympic marathon. In 1977, Shorter crossed the finish line to win the first–ever Mini-Marathon and put the Mini on the global running map. By signing up to run the first race, he catapulted the event into new territory and single-handedly launched the Mini and Indianapolis into the upper echelons of the running industry, where it continues to be one of the largest and most successful half–marathons in the world.
Today, Shorter serves as a Mini-Marathon race commentator from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the WTHR broadcast and has hosted a dinner for the elite runners on the night before the race. He also attends the Mini-Marathon Expo each year to interact with and wish participants luck, share stories, and even sign autographs. Shorter has been fueling Mini-Marathon participants with his presence ever since the first Indy Mini, and the tradition of seeing him continues as he will be honored and celebrated as the Grand Marshal for the AES 500 Festival Parade.