500 Festival Mini Marathon – Molly Sharp and Whitney Burdzilauskas Take Us for a Run
The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon is coming up this weekend in Indianapolis. If you haven’t heard, this is the biggest mini marathon in the nation, selling out over 35,000 competitor spots every year. One of Finish Line’s very own Molly Sharp, as well as competitor Whitney Burdzilauskas, are both ready to run their heart’s out. Read up as they take us for a run on what this marathon is all about, what they’ve done to train, and more.
Tell me about what makes this mini marathon different from others. Also, why do they call it “The Mini”?
Molly: This mini marathon is different from others because it is the kick-off to the 500 Festival, which includes all of the events that lead up to the Indy 500 at the end of May. It’s also the largest half marathon in the country. It’s such a cool event because you get to run a full lap—2.5 miles—around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track , which is an amazing experience. They call it “The Mini” because it is a half marathon.
Whitney: The race has become a staple event in Indianapolis. The event is well organized, and I believe we all have a love/hate relationship with the track (more so hate on hot days!). The course is fast and flat. If the weather cooperates, it is a perfect event for setting a personal best.
Is this your first time running the mini?
Molly: This is my first time running the mini! I’ve done a number of half marathons and full marathons and have lived in Indy my whole life, but have never run the biggest race here. I figured it was finally time for me to see what all the buzz is about! I’m also incredibly excited to run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Track.
Whitney: I started running the mini marathon with my parents when I was a Senior in high school. In the past 15 years, I can only remember missing one race! The Mini is very special to me, and I will continue to run in The Mini as long as I live in Indy.
What did you do to train for this mini marathon?
Molly: Year-round, I run about 35 miles per week. When I train for a race, I just turn one regular run into a long run.
Whitney: I run between 25-35 miles per week and include a variation of distance, speed and tempo runs. I have to share my training time with swimming and biking as well.
What other marathons do you have coming up?
Molly: I’m planning to take a month or so off from long runs, but then I’ll start training for the Indianapolis Marathon in the fall.
Whitney: I am training for Ironman Texas on May 17th, so The Mini will be my final tempo run before I begin my taper.
Any fans going to come support you in The Mini?
Molly: My sister, sister-in-law and my son will all be at the finish line!
Whitney: My mom had never missed a Mini Marathon! Even though her running days are over, she is always there watching me run down the finishing chute, and then we meet up at the fire station! She has also made it to 10 out of 10 Ironmans! That is love!
What else will you do the weekend of the marathon?
Molly: I’m planning to spend some time downtown when I go to the expo to pick up my packet. I’ll definitely get a few cupcakes from Flying Cupcake and take a walk around the Canal.
Whitney: I associate the Mini Marathon as my official kick off to spring. I always work in my yard after the race and head to the Monon Food Company for a patio dinner!
What’s your goal for the marathon?
Molly: My goal for this race is to just have fun. I don’t think I’m in PR shape, but you never know!
Whitney: I usually try run this race as fast as possible, and I love to beat my previous year’s time. However, this year, my goal is to hold back a little so that I do not need a lot of recovery as I prepare for the final two weeks of my Ironman Texas training. I hear that the weather will be nice, so that will take some discipline. I have recruited a friend to keep me under control!
What are you doing to celebrate when you’re done?
Molly: I’m going to kick back, relax and eat ice cream!
Whitney: I usually hit up the Mass Ave. Yogulatte on my drive home! I also see a nap in my future!
Good luck to the both of you. Be sure to check out Whitney’s website fitnesslabindy.com for info on private training if you’re in the Indy area, and give Molly a follow on Twitter @MrsMollySharp. For more on staying fit and local marathons, check out and use the hashtag #FNLfit. And if you’re in need of some new running gear for a little extra motivation, check out Finish Line’s running assortment.