Hoosiers Host Nation's Largest Half Marathon - in Kosovo

500 Festival Public Relations -   The 500 Festival is taking a remote version of the 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Finish Line 500 Festival 5K to overseas troops stationed at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo on April 28 and 29. Hosted by our deployed Indiana National Guard, and other U.S. Armed Forces personnel, the individuals stationed at Camp Bondsteel will have a unique Indy Mini experience that feels like home.

“Holding a satellite version of the 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is something we’re very excited about this year,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “It’s an honor and a privilege to take our event and deliver it to Hoosiers and other armed forces personnel overseas. We can’t wait to see the impact this has on both our troops and our participants at home.”

Longtime Indy Mini public address announcer Rob Powers will travel to Kosovo to manage the event as a representative of his nonprofit organization, American300.org and the 500 Festival.  

“Emceeing one of the greatest half marathons in the world is an incredible honor, but being able to announce at a forward deployed remote Mini-Marathon is beyond words,” Powers said. “And then I get to fly half way around the world to do it again a week later in front of thousands here in Indy.”

Powers will travel with Vietnam wounded warrior Charlie Manis; a decorated member of Indiana’s famed D Company, 151st Rangers. The Indiana Army National Guardsmen will be joined by businessmen Aasif Bade, who serves as a board member of the 500 Festival. “Charlie and Aasif are going to be our grand marshals and will be jumping into runs each day... we've already go them practicing with the green starters flags." added Powers laughingly. 

Troops in Kosovo will receive the full experience, from medals and shirts to an exciting and challenging 13.1 mile race. They’ll also hear the same voice that launches the Mini-Marathon back in Indy the following weekend.

The 2017 remote Mini-Marathon is the first since 2013 when the 500 Festival hosted a similar event. Prior to 2013, the last time Troops had run a remote Mini-Marathon was when Powers helped host a forward version in Kuwait in 2009 with the same unit that is now deployed to Kosovo. 

“We’re thankful for organizations working to support our service members while overseas,” said Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard. “Events like this promote healthy lifestyles that improve the overall well-being of our soldiers.”

The 500 Festival will continue a season-long campaign of encouraging our Indiana military 

personnel throughout running events this spring. The 500 Festival Miler Series, presented by OrthoIndy, consists of races in February, March and April mirroring a half-marathon training program. A Thank You banner, signed by staff, volunteers and participants will be delivered to Kosovo and displayed at the race to support and encourage troops as they prepare for their own Mini-Marathon.

About American 300

Founded in 2006, American300 is a 501c3 not-for-profit that supports our Department of Defense with subject matter experts on the topic of resiliency. To date American300 has conducted well over 500 worldwide base visits with mentors ranging from Wounded Warriors and Olympians to Professional Athletes and Astronauts. The primary goal being to connect remotely deployed Service Members with mentors who bring a unique perspective on the general theme of never quitting while striving to be the best in service to our country, their families and communities they live and operate in. More at: American300.org 

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