Earlier this month, the RRCA announced its Fall 2016 Runner Friendly Communities. To better celebrate the communities that have been selected, and to encourage other communities to apply, we're spotlighting them with profiles of what made them worthy of this designation.
Indianapolis, the capital city of the State of Indiana, with a population of 853,173 is largest city in the state and the second largest city in the Midwest after Chicago. Home to a diverse economy in transit, education, tourism, and business services, Indianapolis also has a strong connection to sports, as the home to the Indianapolis 500, headquarter city of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and USA Track & Field.
Indianapolis’s commitment to being runner friendly starts with its infrastructure. The Monon Trail was one of the early infrastructure accomplishments at a time when rail-trails were relatively unknown in Indiana. The Central Canal Tow Path provides a crushed stone trail from Board Ripple Village past Butler University through the 100 Acre Park, an arts park. These trails connect to the paved White River Trail. The Fall Creek trail connects downtown to the State Fairgrounds and east to Fort Harrison State park in Lawrence, IN. Eagle Creek Park, larger than Central Park in NYC, has several marked road running routes in addition to beautiful and challenging wooded trails. Indianapolis’s widely-celebrated Cultural Trail is an urban trail that connects the arts and cultural districts of downtown by 8-miles of paved paths.
The RRCA member club, Indy Runners, has numerous private and nonprofit partners that work with the club to advance running in the community. The club hosts the largest spring half marathon training program in the city, and is able to use historic Hinkle Fieldhouse as the location for beginning/ending each run through a strong partnership with Butler University. The Indy Runners, through their Giving Back program, have partnered with the city to maintain the deck on the Monon Trail. The tail is the beginning and ending point for the club's popular Saturday runs.
The Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon just celebrated its 40th running, and has historically been one of the largest half marathons in the country. The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon is one of the fastest growing marathons in the country. Both of these events are held downtown, and their success is the result of a good working relationship between runners and the local government.
Businesses in Indianapolis are also very supportive of runners. Phoenix Fitness and Training, multiple locations of the Runners Forum, and both locations of Athletic Annex are designated RRCA Runner Friendly Businesses. Local businesses also support Back on My Feet – Indianapolis. Back on My Feet uses running and community involvement to motivate and support individuals every step of the way from homelessness to independence.
“Indianapolis deserves the designation as an RRCA Runner Friendly Community,” explained Mayor Joseph Hogsett in his letter of recommendation. “We fully support Indy Runners in their application and would be proud to highlight our Runner Friendly Community designation alongside our Bicycle Friendly Community designation form the League of American Bicyclists.”
Community leaders providing support and letters of recommendation include: Joseph Hogsett -Mayor of Indianapolis, Blake Boldon –Director Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Leslie Bonacker - President of Indy Runners, Todd Oliver - President Carmel Racing Group, and Chrissy Vasquez - Executive Director Back On My Feet Indianapolis.
Is your community runner friendly? Nominate it to be recognized as an official RRCA Runner Friendly Community.