Come to Carmel, Indiana, voted one of the best small town suburbs in the US. Labeled as a boutique marathon and winner of multiple national awards, the Carmel Marathon is the second largest marathon in Indiana. The unique race-day format includes all race distances utilizing the same start AND finish …
Come to Carmel, Indiana, voted one of the best small town suburbs in the US. Labeled as a boutique marathon and winner of multiple national awards, the Carmel Marathon is the second largest marathon in Indiana.
The unique race-day format includes all race distances utilizing the same start AND finish line! This allows participants to arrive, prepare and start together then easily find each other at the finish. Marathon and half marathon runners start together in the south two lanes with the 10K and 5K together in the north two lanes of City Center Boulevard. The four lanes are separated by a grass medium for 300 yards until the first turn where the courses turn in opposite directions. The official start/finish area and all race activities are located next to the Palladium Music Center, at the corner of 3rd Avenue and City Center Drive. Free parking, shuttles from hotels, beer garden and more. Join us!
Why should you run Carmel? Here are the most common answers from our runners when surveyed:
– One of the flattest Midwestern marathon and half marathon courses in the Spring
– A race distance for everyone in our running group (offering a marathon, relay, half marathon, 10K & 5K)
– All races are on Saturday starting at 8:00 AM (10K and 5K) and 8:10 AM (marathon and half)
– Marathon course is a USATF Certified Boston Qualifier and has consistently been one of the 50th fastest in the US
– Event offers both marathon AND half marathon pacers with marathon pacers running Boston qualifying times
– Easy FREE parking at the expo and the start/finish area
– Great fitting, gender specific tech shirts that actually breathe and are light weight
– Custom-designed finisher medals unique for each distance
– Finish line recovery area features the Indiana Spine Group Pancake Village serving pancakes to runners
– Official Beer Garden features free beer to celebrate your day
– Same start and finish location makes it ideal for spectators and families
Water and Gatorade approximately every 1.5 miles
Carmel is a very nice area with lots of hotels, restaurants, and is easy to get to. Pro's: Pacers offered in a wide time range, shuttles offered from local hotels, … MORE
Carmel is a very nice area with lots of hotels, restaurants, and is easy to get to.
Pro’s: Pacers offered in a wide time range, shuttles offered from local hotels, rather flat course, nice medals, finish line pancakes & snacks
Con’s: No Gu/fuel on course, ran out of beer for the later finishers
Solidly a Good Race--Perfect Weather Day
After hearing that it was a COLD race day last year, it was a perfect weather day. The tough part came when the half marathoners were finishing, and the marathoners … MORE
After hearing that it was a COLD race day last year, it was a perfect weather day. The tough part came when the half marathoners were finishing, and the marathoners had another (but different) loop to circle. After that point, the race became easier. This was my 34th State finish of 50 full marathon goal, on the Holy Weekend (between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday) and because of the timing, this race was special to me. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me out there including a woman who paced a 5 hour marathon group. Her kind, brief comments to me were deeply heartfelt. I had no idea who she was, but she said she “knew” me. how heartwarming!
A Gem of a Race
What I Loved: * Every aspect of race production went smoothly. From registration and communication to expo, race day and post-race, Carmel Marathon Weekend was a world class event. * … MORE
What I Loved:
* Every aspect of race production went smoothly. From registration and communication to expo, race day and post-race, Carmel Marathon Weekend was a world class event.
* The race route is pretty, although not necessarily scenic. Even without a signature Instagram-worthy view, it was a really pleasant run. Carmel is a lovely community.
* Decent crowd support. There were a few stretches with no crowds — one stretch along the paved trail for a few miles, another stretch in a corporate park area of town — but there were still plenty of areas with fans cheering.
* The finisher’s medal is one of the biggest medals I’ve ever scene…and it’s not just flimsy or gaudy monstrosity. It’s a hefty, high quality medal with a nice design.
What I Didn’t Love:
It’s hard to find anything to complain about. I totally forgot to stop by the famous pancake village after the race (bummer!). There were no energy gels along the course, which some runners might lament. And the swag bag was just a packet of sponsor promotional junk…no goodies. But those are all minor gripes.
One caution: Traffic and getting around town for race spectators is tricky. If your curb crew is planning to bounce around to multiple locations, they could easily find themselves stuck in standstill traffic, and potentially miss you. The online route maps are sorta useless, too.
I PR’d, so I’m probably biased, but the Carmel Marathon is easily a top 5 event of the states I’ve run so far (11). Couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Loved chatting with the race director after the race. If you’re looking for an Indiana marathon in your 50 states journey, there’s a lot to love about the Carmel Marathon.
"Confetti from Heaven"
This is an extremely well-organized event hosted by a wonderful city (Carmel, IN). There is a great finisher's medal, a nice race-expo and packet pick-up, and supportive volunteers! The first … MORE
This is an extremely well-organized event hosted by a wonderful city (Carmel, IN). There is a great finisher’s medal, a nice race-expo and packet pick-up, and supportive volunteers! The first half of the race is primarily downhill. I would love to run this race again in better weather.
However, on race day in 2022, it was snowing & sleeting!! It was an unusually COLD day in Indiana! I am not a fan of miserable weather. But, this race experience was made better by one fellow runner who encouraged me by saying, “Don’t think of it as snow…. think of it as confetti from heaven!”
Runners are wonderful people!!
1st In-Person Race Since COVID
So nice to be back racing! I finished my half only minutes before the full marathon winner came in. The course was a bit of rolling hills, but nothing crazy. … MORE
So nice to be back racing! I finished my half only minutes before the full marathon winner came in. The course was a bit of rolling hills, but nothing crazy. The post-race food/drinks were great! The t-shirt is a little cheap, but at least it wasn’t cotton. Perfect race to start back racing in-person again.
It's Carmel not Caramel; & just as sweet
Many people were in Indiana for the culmination of the NCAA's college basketball March Madness, but I was there to run a marathon. Now don't think I didn't try to … MORE
Many people were in Indiana for the culmination of the NCAA’s college basketball March Madness, but I was there to run a marathon. Now don’t think I didn’t try to get tickets with the University of Houston making it to the final four since the days of Phi Slama Jama. What a weekend it would have been to attend both events. But as things would go, neither the Cougars or me would accomplish our goals that weekend although history was being made.
If you don’t know my story, then you would think that I again have failed to accomplish my goal of completing my marathon in 5:05:50, especially since I haven’t finished a marathon since the Mississippi River Marathon back in February. However, if you have read or are aware of my story, then you think I’m a heroic runner, a crazy lunatic or a little of both. I’m sure many people said the same about the organizers of the Carmel Marathon for putting on the race. No matter, the Carmel Marathon was a great event excellently executed during a pathetic pandemic.
I’ll be honest. I was warned not to run this race by those who have ran it in the past due to the boring course. But the pandemic has forced many to adapt and change the mundane to magnificent. Whatever the course used to be for many races, they’ve had to change to adapt to cities requirements for permits. These changes have challenged races across the country to change the course of their events – literally. And for the Caramel Marathon it was a great change.
I hope they keep the new course which was far from a boring country road run of which I was warned about. I’d definitely love to return to complete the full. Especially, since the last 10K runs through the park where there’s a whole lot of activities going on.
Carmel is a gorgeous place and the run was just as gorgeous. There were many other perks to doing this race. I just wanted to focus on my experience and what mattered to me during my 50th Birthday Year Celebration Running of 50 Marathons in 50 States in 50 weeks.
Excellent course and race!
Even though this was my first time participating, I have to admit that I'm biased ... due to a PR by more than 20 minutes! This was the race I … MORE
Even though this was my first time participating, I have to admit that I’m biased … due to a PR by more than 20 minutes! This was the race I was training for in 2020 when everything shut down three weeks before it was to have been done. I deferred to 2021 but was worried I wouldn’t stay motivated to keep training – so I registered for so. many. virtual runs. So many. And then my running group started meeting on the sly – in much smaller groups and no hugs and everyone did what we could to stay safe. When it was certain that Carmel would take place, I still wasn’t 100% confident in my training or in my ability to finish the race … but I was determined to put this one behind me.
COVID-protocols were in place; packet pickup and expo were held outdoors (thankfully the weather was gorgeous!); masks were required at the expo and then at the start and finish on race day. The course itself was a Figure 8 with the half being one loop and then the full continuing on to the other loop. The roads were well marked and we were on the Monon Trail for quite a bit (formerly a railroad track that was converted to a multi-use path through parks – I think). I occasionally feel bad for the drivers who get stuck in traffic waiting for the runners to pass – and I did … but there were several who had race signs with them and they held them out the windows for us. Many were playing their radios loudly so we had entertainment for those few seconds. It was nice since spectators were discouraged from lining the streets (again, COVID).
This was my 6th marathon and quite possibly may be my last one … so I wanted to hit my goal. Again, since my training over the past year has been hit or miss and I was running with anyone I could find – which was nice, but didn’t challenge me to go faster – I didn’t know how I’d do. I do know my ankle was hurting and the pain was making me feel quite certain this would be my last full … but when I checked my watch at mile 20 and it was almost a guarantee that even if I walked the rest of it, that I’d still hit my goal … I teared up a bit. 🙂 And yes, hit a PR by more than 20 minutes. So this was my absolute mostest favoritest marathon – the course, the swag (huge medal, nice tech shirt), the race production company, my fellow runners, the ninja spectators who weren’t supposed to be there but still showed up … all of it was my favorite. The course itself was flat(ish) and the weather was so amazing. A bit of wind that seemed to hit us in the face on the few uphills … but still, I loved everything about this race …
… and might register for next year, just to see if I can beat this year’s time. 🙂
I would run it again!
From the expo at the beginning to the finish line at the end - Carmel race weekend was smooth as silk! Parking at the expo? EASY. Although the expo was … MORE
From the expo at the beginning to the finish line at the end – Carmel race weekend was smooth as silk!
Parking at the expo? EASY. Although the expo was small, volunteers were eager to help any way that they could.
Parking on race day? EASY. Parking garage right next to the race start with easy access in/out.
Start line? OKAY. Everyone was wearing their masks (yay!) but there was absolutely NO social distancing in the corrals! But I believe this is due to the fact that people didn’t WANT to social distance even though there was plenty of room to do so. It was so odd being in a race corral that mimicked pre-COVID times 😛
The course? FANTASTIC. Flat, winding its way through beautiful neighborhoods (of course all of Carmel is beautiful). And the weather could not have been more perfect!
Course support? AMAZING. Water stops galore! I believe there were six water stops before the 6th or 7th mile. And the volunteers were top notch, courteous, and supportive.
Finish line? PERFECT. With so many options for grab-and-go goodies. Chips, cookies, candy bars, water, chocolate milk, Pringles, bananas. AND, GET THIS…….. PANCAKES. I’m glad I had a small bag to carry all my post-race fuel around!
Swag? OKAY. I run (Okay, maybe not run. Maybe more like, jog, hobble, walk, crawl, etc.) these races because I’m all about the bling! The medal this year was decent, very good size, but I would have liked to see a little bit more originality in terms of design. Kind of like the medal from the 2018 race with the glittery state of Indiana. And I’m not a big fan of the tech-style race shirts either. I would like to see more of the tri-blend style t-shirt that can be worn every day!
But, all in all, I did really enjoy myself at the race this year. Kudos to the race director/managers/planners. It was probably one of the most organized races I have ever run.
Rainy but enjoyable
This was my second year running the Carmel Half. It’s a nice and relatively flat course. It rained a lot this year which was a new challenge. MORE
This was my second year running the Carmel Half. It’s a nice and relatively flat course. It rained a lot this year which was a new challenge.
It rained and was windy throughout the race but it was not cold. Occasional spectators along the course in residential areas. I ran with 4:50 pacer until mile 20. I … MORE
It rained and was windy throughout the race but it was not cold. Occasional spectators along the course in residential areas. I ran with 4:50 pacer until mile 20. I enjoyed the calm race.
This race was very well run. All the water stops were great with Gatorade and water well demarcated. I loved the pancakes at the finish. A rather dull course overall … MORE
This race was very well run. All the water stops were great with Gatorade and water well demarcated. I loved the pancakes at the finish. A rather dull course overall but it did the job. Be ready for lots of traffic circles.
First time for Carmel
This was my first Carmel Half. Carmel is a great place to run, especially on the Monon trail. Good experience this year. Would recommend this race to others. MORE
This was my first Carmel Half. Carmel is a great place to run, especially on the Monon trail. Good experience this year. Would recommend this race to others.
challenging race for me
They changed the course this year. The marathon course was a few yards away from half marathon finishing line so it took all my will power to continue on. It … MORE
They changed the course this year. The marathon course was a few yards away from half marathon finishing line so it took all my will power to continue on. It was such a struggle the entire 2nd half.
Great race & great finish line twist
The Carmel Half was well organized and it was everything you would expect in a race. Communication was good. Route was good. Course support was plentiful and cheerful. Loved the … MORE
The Carmel Half was well organized and it was everything you would expect in a race. Communication was good. Route was good. Course support was plentiful and cheerful. Loved the option for free pictures if you took the time to scroll through. Freshly made pancakes at the end were the best!
Expo was small. Not too much available to purchase, mainly a bunch of businesses trying to get new customers. I would say it was comparable for the size of the town. The fresh kettle corn being cooked outside was the best thing there! Medal was very nice as was the shirt. The shirt was a print on the entire shirt not just a iron-on logo.
Loved the finish line sprint aspect of the race. It was a race within the race. I just wish I knew more about it to train or come up with a strategy. When I saw it listed on the site I thought it was another option. Really cool twist to the race.
The only downside I experienced was the race shuttle. I selected one of the sanctioned race hotels that offered shuttles. There was not mention at all about the shuttles not being able to get through the closed roads during the race. Only found out once I was on the shuttle after the race was over that the shuttle could not get through the roads and we had to wait at the other hotel until who knew how long. Of course this created issues at the hotel because I had no way to get there before checkout. But runners being runners I hitched a ride with 3 very kind souls from the Chicago area in an Uber who swore he knew ways around that the shuttles did not. (he didn’t) In the end it all worked out but seemed like someone did not do their due diligence in offering shuttles you could not actually get the full use out of.
All in all a great race and would love to go back another year!
Just what I expected
Easy bib pickup, open late I love a Saturday race (Sunday to rest before work) Easy to navigate Indy and Carmel roads and airport Race started on time, had well … MORE
Easy bib pickup, open late
I love a Saturday race (Sunday to rest before work)
Easy to navigate Indy and Carmel roads and airport
Race started on time, had well supplied water stops throughout, even for back of packer like me. Water stop volunteers were attentive rather than distracted, and there were plenty of bananas at the end, which is all I ever feel like eating anyway.
I LOVEd the parking situation–got there early, parked I. closest garage. Sat in warm car reading (one building was open and many stood in warm lobby)–and then at end, an easy getaway.
Medal is huge, sparkly state of Indiana–nice for 50 staters.
Shirt has pretty design, but fabric is a bit stiff…we’ll see.
All in all, course is flat and weather was good for running in 2018 (cloudy and high in the low 50s).
Only hard part of course was mental, going past the finishing halfers with 13.1 to go…we ran with the halfers for thirteen miles.
I had run Myrtle Beach four weeks before, which was WINDY, so I didn’t notice the wind at Carmel, but the RD said in an email the finish party would have been more energized without wind…
I count it as a PR for races in quick succession. Nice mid-sized race. Made a new friend for miles 16-21😃.
A fun half marathon
Packet pickup was easy peasy and the expo is small. No glitches whatsoever. The course was beautiful! Carmel is a beautiful city and the course wound its way through the … MORE
Packet pickup was easy peasy and the expo is small. No glitches whatsoever.
The course was beautiful! Carmel is a beautiful city and the course wound its way through the town and the residential streets. By the time you cross the finish line, you may have already made plans to move there. The first half of the course went downhill. The second half went uphill. A perfect V. However, there was only a 200’ elevation change so the hills were actually not to mean.
The swag is very nice. There wasn’t anything unique or extraordinary about it, but the shirt was high-quality and well-designed. The metal was huge and glittery. At the finish, the food was packaged in a bag – gotta love that!
I paid $30 for this half. It was as good as others twice or three times the price.
Carmel is Nice
Great race. Felt like a home town race for me. Flat course, good support, cool weather. The pacer left me with 2 miles to go. We were fast. MORE
Great race. Felt like a home town race for me. Flat course, good support, cool weather. The pacer left me with 2 miles to go. We were fast.
This is my first race of any distance
Flat and fast course. I ran with a 5-hour pacer who was such an inspiration! I couldn't have run so well without his encouragement. I ran ahead about 3 miles … MORE
Flat and fast course. I ran with a 5-hour pacer who was such an inspiration! I couldn’t have run so well without his encouragement. I ran ahead about 3 miles to finish but forgot to go back thanking him.
Speedy course outside of INDY
Small, but extremely friendly packet pick up. Held at a community center, there were 30 or 40 booths, but basically set up on card tables. People were very friendly and … MORE
Small, but extremely friendly packet pick up. Held at a community center, there were 30 or 40 booths, but basically set up on card tables. People were very friendly and super helpful with any questions. Candy bars and donuts were freely sampled. Thank you! The swag was pretty simple with a nice tech shirt, no complaints on fitting. The morning of the marathon it was very cool outside and we were allowed to meet inside a building close by the start. Thank goodness, otherwise i was completely unprepared. The bathrooms were locked, but several port a potties available outside. The course was flat, and fairly nice, but also rather fast. I wasn’t in the best of shape and still finished with a decent time. We ran through the community of Carmel, which is a wealthy suburb close to Indianapolis, to nice house, beautiful parks, tree lined streets kept your mind off of the fact that you were running 26 miles. I missed the post race party, so cannot comment on the post race goodies. A great race, with very friendly people.
Very nice small to medium marathon
Carmel In is a small city adjacent to Indy. One of the nicer areas of Indiana. Pretty much corn and tractor free. Actually it is a Midwest politicians dream - … MORE
Carmel In is a small city adjacent to Indy. One of the nicer areas of Indiana. Pretty much corn and tractor free. Actually it is a Midwest politicians dream – thousands and thousands of soccer moms in an enclosed area. But on the actual race review.
Expo – easy squeezy, held at an neighbor center / workout area. Easy in, easy out. No wait. Probably 30 vendors. Parking was free and close.
The Race – Starts in downtown Carmel. There were approx. 700 full marathoners, 2500 half marathoners and assorted groups of 4 miler and 10k people. Everybody starts together so a little crowded at the start. The marathoners split off from everybody at mile 4 so once we were past there it was no issue of crowding. The course is a mixture of urban and rural areas. 3 or 4 really nice neighborhoods, then running thru parks and on the tow path thru nature areas then back into neighborhoods then into an industrial park then back into a nature area and finally the finish. Not a whole lot of straight running. I had no clue – north, south, east or west – where we were during the whole race. If you don’t like curves or turns in your marathon then this one isn’t for you. It is not a flat marathon, lots of rolling hills but nothing to let loose with any swear words over. Nice medals and nice food at the end.
The good with the bad
Race parking. Right next to the start. The parking garage was attached to an indoor theater with indoor plumbing that was 1 minute from the start. Stayed inside until 15minutes until the start relaxing and using the uncrowded bathrooms.
The area and expo – really nice area to run. The neighborhoods and parks were exactly what you would expect from one of the wealthiest areas of Indiana. Expo was also well run and nice.
Organization and rest stops – great organization, course well marked, no traffic or car issues and plenty of well manned water stops with both power-ade and water.
The may be bad or good – depends on how you personally look at it.
The course – as I said before – lots of curves and turns – no long straightaways.
Crowd support – varied from place to place but very small. It was like doing a long training run with a couple of hundred other people running it with you.
Excitement – very low key. If you are looking to be all wound up and sprout your type ‘a’ running personality then this isn’t the place to be.
None that I can see. The weather was a little toasty on the back half – sunny and 75 to 80 but hey can’t blame them for that.
Final thoughts and recap.
Very nice small to medium low key spring marathon. Very well run and organized. Great race to use as a springboard for fall marathons.
Would recommend it highly to anyone considering it.