Mini Marathon course: Mile by mile

Not far from the start, Mile 1 takes you by Hilbert Conservatory at the Indianapolis Zoo where the butterflies are back.
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The Mini Marathon course is 13.1 miles long. It takes runners and walkers from downtown Indianapolis to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and back. Mary Milz drove the course this week in search of interesting things mile by mile. Here's what she found.

Not far from the start, Mile 1 takes you by Hilbert Conservatory at the Indianapolis Zoo where the butterflies are back. There are 35 varieties fluttering about. The butterflies eat rotten fruit and a nectar many runners might like. It's a mix of Gatorade, sugar and beer. But life is short for these beautiful creatures. They live just two weeks.

Look for Westside Bait and Tackle along Mile 2. It's been serving anglers for 62 years. Here you'll find all sorts of bait including "neon night crawlers,' great for bass and catfish. And yes, they are a luminous green and yellow, which fish evidently love.

At mile 3 you just might catch a whiff of Judges Bar-be-que, known for its pulled pork and yummy ribs. Judge Smith moved his restaurant to the Michigan location 8 years ago. Asked what makes his bbq special, he said, "The key to making great bbq is you can never be in a hurry."

Mile 4 takes you thru more of Haughville, settled in the 1830s. Several residents pull up a chair and watch people run and walk by. For the past six years, Beth Crosby has stood in front of her house playing the cowbell and shouting "goooo runners!"

You can't miss Allison Transmission along mile 5. Founder Jim Allison was a founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That's why he started his company, now 98-years-old. The Indianapolis facility now make transmissions for almost every fire truck and school bus in north america, not to mention all the transmissions for the military's Abrams Tank.

Mile 6 finds you on Speedway's new Main Street, home to Sara Fisher Hartman Racing, the Dallara Indycar Factory and Lino's Italian coffee where you stop for a Latte or get it to go.

Mile 7 takes you inside the Speedway and past the track's museum where you'll find all sorts of race cars including the Marmon Wasp, winner of the first Indy 500 in 1911. The top speed back then? Just 76 miles an hour.

Mile 8 takes you round the track and down the straight-away where you just may be tempted to stop and kiss the famous "yard of bricks." It's where the race starts and finishes and is the only place on the 2.5 mile oval where you'll see a part of the original brick track.

Mile 9 goes by part of Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. The greens here are reportedly "fast." It's the only course with four holes inside a race track.

The Marathon terminal on Olin Avenue takes up most of mile 10. Trucks take fuel from a pipeline to area gas stations. One of the tanks features a large painting of a pit crew done an Ohio artist, presumably in "oils."

The Hi Neighbor Tavern, a biker bar at Mile 11, used to be a beer stop.

Spike, a member of the Vigilantes Biker Club said, "we had signs out, 'ice-cold beer. We'd give them (a small amount) in a plastic cup and they'd be off."

But after nine years, the state put the kibosh on that in 2011. Spike said some runners still make a brief detour inside the bar for some "carbs."

Mile 12 takes you by John's Fish Market, located in a blue building on 10th Street for 39 years. The sign outside advertises fresh fish & frog legs.

Owner John Brinkley said, "what makes them good is they're always fresh, never stale and we cook 'em real good."

Just before you hit mile 13, check out IUPU's track and soccer stadium, the soon-to-be home to Indy Eleven, the city's new pro soccer team.

From there, it's just a few shorts steps to the finish line and celebration at Military Park.