The One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon brings over 30,000 runners from across the globe to participate, according to the Indy Mini-Marathon website. This year marks 44th annual Mini-Marathon and sports information Graduate Assistant Alec Rohr will be running the race on May 2.
The Mini-Marathon is 13.1 miles and takes the runners on a full lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rohr said he took on running as a new challenge for himself.
A competitive swimmer for 10 years, Rohr said he began as an elementary student and continued throughout high school. Now he’s out running five to six days a week. Rohr said he found something he wanted to overcome. By doing something new, Rohr said that he discovered an activity he wanted to succeed at and goal that he wanted to achieve.
Rohr said he started running last summer as he began training for the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, which was his first half marathon. He sought mentorship last summer from triathlon athlete and University of Indianapolis Alum Sean Smith, who was a track and field athlete during his tenure at UIndy.
“He always kept my head up,” Rohr said. “Even [on] days [that] I didn’t feel good after running or [was] tired or sore the next day, he was always there for me.”
Rohr said that their training ranged from interval training, long distance training and mental fortitude. Mental fortitude factored in for him when the heat and fatigue began to weigh him down, Rohr said.
“There were a couple of days this past October where the heat was so bad,” Rohr said. “There were plenty of times where my calves were absolutely just shot.”
At this time of year, Rohr said he has to deal with the cold and is tasked with making the choice to either take his training inside or stay outside in the weather.
“If it’s not too windy I’ll brace the cold,” Rohr said. “The cold doesn’t bother me.”
When thinking about pushing himself to a longer distance than the Indy Mini, Rohr remembers his pain at 13 miles during the Monumental Marathon.
Rohr said he knew this pain was only temporary and tries to think about who he runs for on top of trying something new. His best friend in high school was a cross country runner and shortly after Rohr turned 21, his friend passed away.
“Running was something he loved too, so I just took it on,” Rohr said. “He always enjoyed running so it’s [part of] trying to help keep his memory alive as well.”
Runners World describes one of the most important aspects of preparing for any race is the pregame meal.
According to runnersworld.com, breakfast provides vital fuel for your brain and helps to sustain motivation and concentration during a long race.
Rohr said that he has a specific route he takes with his morning meal. It consists of an English Muffin with jelly or jam.
Before his first half marathon, Rohr said he had two muffins with peanut butter only and plans on sticking with that for the Indy Mini as he does not want to mess up a good thing.
As Rohr prepares for the Indy Mini, he might be seen out on a run. Although he might not hear any encouragement because his headphones are at full blast, the UIndy community can still root for him on race day.