United States

Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana. Located in the East North Central region of the Midwest, it is the 12th largest city in America and the unofficial “Amateur Sports Capital.” The city is likely best known for annually hosting the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. This is a guide to the best places to run in Indianapolis. The city is home to the nation’s largest half marathon, the 500 Festival Mini Marathon, indicating that cars aren’t the only fast thing on the track! This is also one of the reasons Indy made Runners World magazine’s list of  “America’s 50 Best Running Cities.”

Indianapolis was founded on the White River, which runs along the western edge of downtown and the giant Indianapolis University–Purdue University at Indianapolis campus sits just above the river’s bend. Indy is laid out with four main roadways that extend out diagonally from Monument Circle, city center, and connect cross streets in a grid.

There are some great running options in the downtown area, notably along the White River, the canals, and the unique 8-mile ‘Cultural Trail’. Further afield, there are some wonderful rail trails and parks for running.

The downtown area is very walkable, but because Indy is spread out over so many square miles alternate transportation is necessary. IndyGo, Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, provides great commuting options, including 30 fixed bus routes throughout the county.

Great Resource on Running in Indy

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Fort Harrison State Park

Indianapolis, IN

Formerly a military installation, Fort Ben, as it's called, is now a state park and nature preserve. There are several trails to choose from, however, none of the individual trails are more than three miles.

Eagle Creek Park

Indianapolis, IN

This is by far the city’s most popular running spot and one of the largest metropolitan greenspaces in the nation. It includes 5K, 8K, and 10K certified road courses as well as 10 miles of trails.

Eagle Creek Park

Indianapolis, IN

This is by far the city’s most popular running spot and one of the largest metropolitan greenspaces in the nation. It includes 5K, 8K, and 10K certified road courses as well as 10 miles of trails.

Summers are typically hot, humid, and wet. The average temperature in July is 75°F. Winters are generally cold with moderate snowfall, and an average January temperature of 28°F. Spring and Autumn are usually mild, but at times unpredictable, with midday temperature drops exceeding 30°F. The rainiest months occur in the spring and summer. May is typically the wettest, with an average of 5 inches of rain. Severe weather is not uncommon in these months, as the city experiences an average of 20 thunderstorm days annually.

Indy welcomes millions of visitors each year, so hospitality is not something they’re lacking in. The downtown district is an ideal place to stay as it  boasts several hotels and is divided into well-marked quadrants that are full of things to do. All areas are within walking distance of downtown hotels and easily accessible via sidewalks with traffic control. Downtown also connects you to a majority of the running routes. Broad Ripple Village, on the city’s north side,  is also a good area to stay for those seeking more arts, culture and live music. This is also where you can pick up the Monon Trail and the Cultural Trail.  If you’re looking for more budget friendly options, looking towards the southwest side of the city, near the Indianapolis International Airport, is your best bet!

Great Resource on Running in Indianapolis: http://www.runnersforum.com/links.php


The Runners Forum: Whether you are new to running, walking and endurance sports, or looking to take your performance to a new level, the experienced employees at the Runners Forum can answer any question you might have. They also have a program called Good Form Running.  It focuses on simple, essential steps that allow for efficient, light, and easy running, along with effective stretching and strengthening techniques. With several locations all over Indianapolis, this is a convenient place to satisfy all your running needs!

Blue Mile: Has been in the Indianapolis community 15+ years and is the destination for advice, expertise and encouragement for all runners and walkers. They are a specialty retailer that offers video gait analysis, expert fittings, and specialty product. They are also a part of Running Specialty Group, the parent company of a network of local running stores across the US, with the goal of inspiring, connecting, and serving runners everywhere.


Indy Runners: A volunteer, not-for-profit club that serves to promote running and walking as a healthy life-style activity and as a competitive sport. They offer several club runs and walks each week. They have a Sunday run at Ft. Harrison, Tuesday run at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Wednesday run and walk at the downtown Atheneaum YMCA, Thursday run in Broad Ripple, and a Saturday run and walk there as well


Indianapolis Running Calendar, courtesy of Runners Forum.

500 Festival Mini Marathon: “The Mini” is the country’s largest half marathon with 35,000 annual participants. The race is tied to a month-long build up to the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race course extends from the heart of the city to the famed oval and includes a trek around the legendary track before turning back to the city.

Indianapolis Marathon and Half Marathon: This mid-sized race features the scenic terrain of Fort Harrison State Park on the city’s east side. The race is timed to coincide with peak fall foliage season. The area surrounding the park is hilly by Indy standards so expect some challenges. The race, celebrating 20 years, was named by Runners World magazine as a Top 10 Marathon to do in 2015!

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon: Indiana’s largest and fastest growing marathon is among the 100 largest marathons in the world. The race takes over the city each fall and takes participants on a tour of landmarks and historic neighborhoods in the heart of Indianapolis. In addition to the Boston Qualifying Monumental Marathon, there is a half marathon, 5k, and Kids’ Fun Run.