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Runners In 500 Festival Mini Marathon Take Off Today

Last updated on Saturday, May 4, 2013

(INDIANAPOLIS) -Thousands of runners loading up on carbohydrates Friday, all in an effort to make it through the 13.1 mile course at the 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

The race course is not changing from years past. Runners will start at West and Washington Streets in downtown Indianapolis. Along the way, runners will see lots of entertainment and get plenty of encouragement, as they head west to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, run around the 2.5 mile oval, then come back downtown along 10th Street to White River Parkway Drive. They'll finish at Blackford and New York Streets.

Runners will also see volunteers along the route, manning water stations. But there is a slight change where they will be located.

Megan Bulla with the 500 Festival says, "Some of the water stations have shifted a little bit logistically to make sense. We added a 'Cliff Shot Energy Zone' which will give a gel shot to keep runners motivated throughout the race."

You may want to map out your parking for Saturday if you're coming down to watch or if you're running your first race.

The 500 Festival Mini Marathon is the largest half-marathon in the U.S. About 35,000 participants will be running today. Add to that number the spectators who cheer them on.

The recent bombing attack at the Boston Marathon certainly changed the way we look at these kinds of events and it's still fresh on the minds of everyone who's coming to town for this event. So, security has changed for this year's race as a result.

Megan Bulla says, ''One of those adjustments: if participants are using gear, check to drop packages off and have gear held during race, we are no longer accepting backpacks or duffle bags. Only the white plastic bags that were given to them during the Expo. So, we ask participants not bring backpacks, but if spectators do bring backpacks, it may be subject to search. So, that's something new this year."

Runners and spectators can also expect more police this year, more K-9's. And no one without a runner's bib will be allowed in the corral areas.

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