Todd Oliver was hoping to hit a home run.
Instead, he hit a World Series grand slam.
On April 12th, Oliver will watch the fastest growing marathon in the state of Indiana write a new chapter. The 4th annual Carmel Marathon will take place on that Saturday afternoon with a record number of entries.
Last year, the U.S. Marathon Report rated the Carmel Marathon among the top 125 marathons on a list of over 1,000 races.
In just four years, the Carmel Marathon has grown to the second largest in Indiana and hopes are to crack the top-100 mark by next year. The Carmel Marathon includes a half marathon, an 8-K and for the second year a marathon relay. Participants in two weeks will represent over 35 states and seven countries. That includes a 69- and 70-year old couple from the Montreal area. The Carmel Marathon will be the 199th marathon for the 70-year old woman.
"Only one percent of the U.S. population runs a marathon each year. So if somebody finishes a marathon they are considered an elite athlete by pushing their body 26.2 miles," Oliver, the Race Director & President, says. "Having that distinction is enough for a lot of people to give it a shot."
The Carmel Marathon starts and finishes at the Palladium, which Oliver says is very unique and runner friendly.
The course path heads east to River Road before crossing 146th Street and eventually down Old Meridian. A trip down Pennsylvania Street precedes the final stretch towards Main Street. A total of five Carmel parks are run through during the marathon course.
Oliver points to runner feedback as a major reason why the Carmel Marathon has seen such tremendous growth.
Runner's World Magazine, with a 1.7-million distribution reach, highlighted the Carmel Marathon as their "April Marathon."
According to Oliver, the only thing holding the Carmel Marathon back from continuing to climb among the top marathons in the U.S. is crowd support. Locals are encouraged to cheer for the runners and/or set up water stops. As Oliver reflects on the past four years, he's more than pleased with the marathon's success, but don't think for a second he's content.
"We want it to be a top 25-30 event in the U.S., from signage, expo, the look and feel of the grounds, 400 volunteers and the actual course," Oliver said. "We want the image to follow the image of Carmel, which is of a premier suburb of the U.S."
More information on the Carmel Marathon can be found here.
Also, here are some more tidbits from their website:
The event moved up a week from its traditional third week in April time because of the lateness of Easter in 2014. Its plan is to shift back to the third week in 2015 with April 18th as its event date.
The Carmel Marathon Weekend is owned and operated by the Carmel Road Racing Group, LLC (CRRG) based in Carmel, IN. CRRG is an event management and consulting group that stages events throughout the US.