DANVILLE — When the Greater Indy Half Marathon announced it was not coming back to Hendricks County, community members decided the event had to go on in some facet. As a result, the Hendricks County Half Marathon was born. Its first running was this past weekend in Danville.
Despite the chilly temperatures Saturday morning, about 200 runners took to the 13.1-mile course that started on the town square.
“Community members, along with the parks department, Hendricks Regional Health, local businesses, and the business bureau wanted to keep it here,” said Will Lacey, assistant superintendent of Danville Parks and Recreation.
The run covered country roads in rural southwest Danville before returning to town square.
Sheriff Andy Taylor’s replica police car from the Mayberry Cafe escorted the runners.
“We’re a spin off of the Greater Indy Marathon,” Lacey said. “We liked the venue and it has a small town charm that you don’t usually get with the big races. The organization of this was different. That race was more of a company, where we’re more local. We used all of our connections to make it bigger and better to bring that small town charm to the race to make everyone come back.”
Lacey said he hopes the event increases in popularity. Back at the town square, runners and others were treated to a festival that featured children’s activities, a disc jockey, refreshments, and even massages.
The event also offered a 5K and a one-mile run along the same path as the larger race. Lacey said a half marathon can be as much of a challenge above the neck as it is to the rest of the body.
“It’s pretty much a mind game, a half marathon,” he said. “It’s you against yourself most of the time. If you train for it, it makes it easier, but it’s a great accomplishment when you finish it.
“I tell people to start training three months out. You always see people driving around with those 13.1 stickers on their cars. For some, this is a really hard task. Usually when I’m running a big race, I try to carb load, get all the pastas and things like that. Then I hydrate with electrolytes and water two days out. You don’t want to be dehydrated.”
Lacey said the race was designed so people got the opportunity to see farms, bridges, animals, all kinds of things that make rural Hendricks County a special, scenic place. Though they’ve not discussed alternating routes, he said it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
“It’s still up in the air, going to different locations,” Lacey said. “We just want to keep it growing and see it become a large event. The committee is dedicated to making it kind of the Hendricks County experience. I think this is a big time race in a small town.”