Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Report – Natalie Lutz

In this Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Report, Team RunRun coach Natalie Lutz shares her pro-tips on how to be your best on race day in Indy. Course knowledge, tips on pacing, and more – Enjoy!

Coach Natalie Lutz running the Indy Marathon. Learn about this race and how to be your best in this Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Report.
Photo: Monumental Marathon

Race: Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Runner: Coach Natalie Lutz

Race Date: 10/28/2023

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Results: 3:00:10

Strava Activity Link:

Video Race Report on YouTube

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Big race feel with small race simplicity! From the flight into Indianapolis to the packet pickup and actual race day, Indy does it best! There are several main hotels right at the starting line. I could literally use the restroom at my hotel 5 minutes before the race start and I easily entered my corral 3 minutes before the start. The crowds were awesome and the energy was contagious! Again, it has the big race feel without all the restrictions of a really large race.
  2. The logistics of this race were extremely streamlined. The packet pick up and expo were super efficient and the gear available for purchase was high quality. The expo was exciting enough to pump up the athletes without being overwhelming like some of the really large races. It was thoroughly organized and the app was efficient and extremely helpful to provide the pertinent race information needed.
  3. The actual race and course itself! The race was fast with some slight rollers to give your muscles a nice change up. There were some small stretches where the crowds thinned out but it was a nice mix of enough support with some time to reflect during the quiet spots. The half marathon and full race separation are extremely well marked, including a large arch to ensure you do not accidentally get pulled into the wrong race distance. The hydration and fuel stations were plentiful and well operated and the finish was monumental! As you come back into the city, the crowd is at its best! The finish line is epic and after you cross the line, there is the after party and plenty of places on the grass to rest and recover and just soak in the moment.

Also, the weather and the time of year at which this race takes place, it is usually cool enough to get great times!

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

There were a few pot holes in the beginning of the race and it would have been helpful if there were some construction cones or warnings regarding upcoming medians/road bifurcations in the first few miles when the pack is super tight!

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

This isn’t about the race, but the Indy airport has some “Tron” like multi colored light show when you’re leaving the airport!

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I had the best race of my life and ran a PR just shy of a sub 3 marathon by 11 seconds! I also won my age group and received a unique award which was a poster of the race course with my name and time printed on it!

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

I would suggest you be extra vigilant of your footing and the road bifurcations during the first 3 miles of the race.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Again, this has nothing to do with the race itself, but a silly mistake that as a seasoned runner, I should not have done—don’t eat spicy Italian the night before! 🤣

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The beginning pack, especially if you are in the top corrals, goes out very fast, so try not to get caught up and pulled along with the half marathoners in the beginning and run your own race to avoid hitting the wall too early!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, the course goes through the city of Indy and out to some neighborhoods then back into town! It’s the perfect amount of crowds with some quiet periods of reflection.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

In my opinion, it’s mostly flat with some small rollers at good points in the race to allow for muscle change up. I believe it’s categorized as “mostly flat” on I had 361 ft of elevation according to Strava.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Well-oiled and without a foil, my friend!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There is a lot of competition in this race. There was a very strong elite field with some big names. Indy is approximately the 15th largest marathon in the US, so plenty of strong competition to pull you along!

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Logistics were great! Registration was super easy and I signed up about 2 months prior and it was super easy and the race app is also wonderful as it provides the pertinent information that runners really need without all the fluff. Again, the packet pick up and expo were super efficient and exciting without being overwhelming. There were also a lot of opportunities to take photos at the expo without waiting in lines and or having to pay like some of the other larger races I have been to are now doing.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

They were abundant and well-organized. There were both plenty of hydration and fuel (Gu Rocktane gels) throughout the course!

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather was perfect around 52-56, cloudy with winds around 8 mph! The time of year and region for this race, has an excellent weather history.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

They provide enough hydration and fueling that you would not need to race with a hydration vest or any gear of that kind. You may need to carry a few extra gels depending on how many you typically take.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Spectator friendly!!! The crowds are fire, but it was super easy for my husband to watch me and find me immediately after the race.

How’s the Swag?

The swag was great —a really nice tech running t-shirt!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5/5 and I plan on making this a regular rotation in my text line up and I try not to go back to the same races!

Natalie Lutz is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, check out her coach profile.