Overall Rating
Overall Rating (15 Reviews)
4.1
(15 Ratings)(15 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
3.5
Come to Carmel, Indiana, voted one of the best small town suburbs in the US. Our 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 … MORE
Local Weather (Apr 09):
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H (°F) 77 55 66 41 77
L (°F) 50 37 50 31 49
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Recent reviews

    runningservant FIRST-TIMER '21

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    elladams FIRST-TIMER '21

    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. 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Apr 08, 2021 at 9:15pm

    And yours is one of my mostest favoritest reviews, Elizabeth! Congrats on the huge PR, I can't imagine a better way to put COVID in the rearview mirror. 👏 And… MORE

    And yours is one of my mostest favoritest reviews, Elizabeth! Congrats on the huge PR, I can't imagine a better way to put COVID in the rearview mirror. 👏 And glad all your virtual races paid off, you deserve a lot of credit for staying motivated over the past year. We're still waiting for races to reopen here in CA, so it's awesome to look outside the state and see runners like you who are racing again and having great success. And who knows where such a strong performance may lead? Keep running well, and fingers crossed for an encore in 2022! LESS

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    aaumi189 FIRST-TIMER '21

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Apr 08, 2021 at 9:15pm

    Being out in CA where races have yet to reopen, I love living vicariously through your enthusiasm, Ashley. And I can relate to being all about the bling (pancakes aren't… MORE

    Being out in CA where races have yet to reopen, I love living vicariously through your enthusiasm, Ashley. And I can relate to being all about the bling (pancakes aren't a bad option, either 😊). Glad your return to racing went so well, it sounds like there was plenty of positive energy in Carmel to go around. Congrats on adding Indiana to your 50 States map, and thanks for the awesome review! LESS

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    shanep240 FIRST-TIMER '18

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    shanep240 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    jianwang2019 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    abbjmc FIRST-TIMER '19

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    2

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    jianwang2019 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    jianwang2019 FIRST-TIMER '17

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    lap9197 FIRST-TIMER '18

    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!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    runvirginia FIRST-TIMER '18

    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😃.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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    Lorelei FIRST-TIMER '18

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '17

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    jrohlede FIRST-TIMER '15

    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
    Good –
    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.

    The bad
    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    2tallfritz FIRST-TIMER '14

    Probably a better race for the half marathoners than the full runners. Most of the spectators rolled up and left after a couple hours. Nice location. Nice course. Not my … MORE

    Probably a better race for the half marathoners than the full runners. Most of the spectators rolled up and left after a couple hours. Nice location. Nice course. Not my favorite but a solid race. Best part was at the end running past the cute boutique shops and restaurants.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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