Hearts pumping, blood rushing, oxygen rushing into your lungs. The steady sound of 35,000 feet hitting the ground of downtown Indianapolis.

In the crowd, there are twelve Goshen College students: Erin Helmuth, Brook Hosteter, Mara Weaver, Michael Miller, Aaron Shelly, Nikita Zook, Hannah Bartel, Hannah Eberly, Erica Grasse, Lydia Aldefer, Alita Yoder, and Lynelle Yoder.

The May 8 Indy 500 festival weekend also contains a half marathon. This marathon is the biggest in the nation. The 35,000 runners for this year will be running through downtown Indy, listening to live bands and serving as part of the entertainment.

Erin Helmuth, a sophomore from Elkhart, Indiana competed in her first marathon during the summer between her junior and senior year. She was on the cross country team throughout high school, but decided against running here at Goshen because she wanted to run more marathons and enjoy running for enjoyment’s sake alone.

Helmuth says that she likes half marathons because you run at a pace that you can converse at while still being challenged. She states that she loves running because “Running gets you underneath the sky, away from your dorm room. A breath of fresh air. It gives you energy and livens your mood. Then you can go back to your studies rejuvenated. A chance to appreciate God’s beauty.”

Erin stresses that this is more than doable. It’s intimidating, but definitely a viable goal. She suggests that people start off small. The Goshen College marathoners are running 5-6 days a week, working up to ten miles. They are currently doing some combination training. They do one longer run a week, usually on Saturdays, shorter, 3-5 mile runs during the week and a one speed workout during the week as well.

Erin says, “Anyone can run a half marathon. I don’t mean that just to say it. It sounds scary. Maybe you start at a low level. It starts at ten minutes a day, or one mile a day and build. It can be a social activity and not just exercise. If people put their mind to it, they can do it. It’s one of those things that you feel good about yourself afterwards. Because such a small percentage of people have done it.”

Erin admits that she is a little nervous. The amount of people has a lot to do with her pre-race jitters. She says that it’s a little crazy to think about. She’s looking forward to it, however. It’s a chance for her to relax, breathe deeply and enjoy some time out under the friendly skies and the open air of Indianapolis—or at least as friendly and clean as such a large city could be. Until then, she’s counting down the miles until Indy.