IU's Little 500 again will feature two days of exciting cycling for scholarships

New 5K run/walk and Fundly campaign encourage more people to get involved

  • March 25, 2015


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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- This year marks the 65th running of the men's Little 500 at Indiana University Bloomington, and several events this spring will offer everyone opportunities to support cycling and scholarships at IU.

In addition to the women's and men's Little 500 bike races April 24 and 25, a new 5K run/walk, the Bloomington premiere of a new documentary about the races, events for alumni and a concert are planned.

The IU Student Foundation also is partnering with the Commission on Multicultural Understanding. Volunteers from both organizations on race day will be wearing shirts saying, "Little 500 stands for inclusion, diversity and everyone."

"We're trying to be more inclusive and open Little 500 to involve more of the community," said Jordan Bailey, IU Student Foundation Little 500 race director. "With the race being 65 years old, it is constantly changing and evolving.

"While the nuts and bolts of it are pretty much the same as in 1951, the people who ride and the race they're competing in continues to be a microcosm for the university and society," added Jonathan Purvis, member of Dodds House's winning team in 1998 and IU Student Foundation director in 2001-05, who still volunteers as assistant chief steward on race day.

The Little 500 began in 1951 as a men's race between teams from fraternities and residential units. In 1988, a women's race was added -- a year after a team of women trained but were unsuccessful in their attempt to qualify. Today, the makeup of the race is more diverse, including through the involvement of more kinds of student organizations.

The Little 500 -- which raises money for scholarships for working IU students -- also provides professional development for many students who work off the track and behind the scenes to make it a success.

Last year, $154,000 was awarded to IU students in scholarships and grants.

Francisco Borrayo, a senior majoring in psychology from Chicago Heights, Ill., is this year's president of the IU Student Foundation Steering Committee, which stages the annual event.

"Throughout my undergraduate career I've been looking for that defining moment that really made me feel like I was connected to Indiana University. Being one of the few students that have had the opportunity to build the Little 500 has been that moment," Borrayo said. "Through that, I not only feel like I am forever a part of Indiana University, but I have met people and strengthened friendships that will forever be a part of my life. It makes me proud to be an Indiana Hoosier and reminds me that this university is a place I can always call home."

Details about Little 500 races

Qualifications for this year's Little 500 races will take place Saturday, March 28, at Bill Armstrong Stadium, 1606 N. Fee Lane. Teams will attempt to get the fastest time over four laps to gain the pole position.

A complete field of 33 teams will be featured in both Little 500 races. Teams line up for the start in 11 rows of three, just like the Indianapolis 500, which the race is modeled after. All race competitors are amateurs and are full-time undergraduate students at IU Bloomington.

This year, 40 men's teams will attempt to qualify and 35 women's teams will attempt to qualify. Admission is free to qualifications, which will begin at 8 a.m.

The 28th running of the Women's Little 500 will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, April 24, at Bill Armstrong Stadium, near the intersection of 17th Street and Fee Lane. The following day, the 65th running of the men's race will begin at 2 p.m. There also will be alumni Little 500 races this year on the morning of the men's race.

Also as with the Indy 500, winners of the Little 500 are immortalized on their version of the BorgWarner Trophy, which is displayed year-round at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Tickets for the women's Little 500 on April 24 and the men's Little 500 on April 25 are available for $30 for adults and $14.50 for children age 12 and younger. They are available through and Ticketmaster locations such as the IU Auditorium Box Office. Visit the IU Student Foundation's Little 500 website for more information.

This is the third year for a crowd funding Cycling for Scholarships campaign. In addition to competing on the track, Little 500 teams are collecting donations from supporters through their Fundly sites. People also are encouraged to "play the field" by making a donation in honor of all the men and women who will make Little 500 a success.

Last year, the Fundly campaign raised $14,000 for student scholarships. This year, the goal is $20,015.

Once again, for those unable to attend, both Little 500 races will be presented live nationally in high-definition television by AXS TV.

Michael Uslan, an IU alumnus who has become one of Hollywood's most accomplished movie producers, particularly the "Batman" series, will serve as grand marshal. He recently joined the IU Media School as a professor of practice.

Other events

One week before Little 500 weekend, on April 18, students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to participate in the inaugural Little 500 5K race, which ends at the same finish line as cyclists in Armstrong Stadium. The race will begin 10 a.m. at the corner of 17th Street and Fee Lane and run throughout the Bloomington campus. Registration can be done online or the day before or morning of the 5K race. Cost is $20 and includes a commemorative T-shirt and post-race party.

Detroit MC Big Sean, YG, Luke Christopher and Justine Skye will perform at the official Little 500 concert April 21 at the IU Auditorium. Concert tickets will be available at the IU Auditorium Box Office, Ticketmaster ticket centers and Tickets range from $45 to $75 for IU Bloomington students and $55 to $80 for the general public.

"One Day in April," a new documentary following four teams in the men's and women's Little 500, will have its Bloomington premiere at 8 p.m. April 24, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A session with the filmmakers, who are IU alumni. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at the IU Student Foundation website or at the Buskirk-Chumley box office.

The filmmakers include Thomas Miller, who spent six months as a videographer for the Obama 2012 campaign and later was a cinematographer at the 2013 inauguration. He and his creative partner, Ryan Black, had a film, "All We've Built," shown at the Cannes Film Festival. They were joined by Kirsten Powell, a former Little 500 rider and consultant; and Peter Stevenson, a Washington, D.C.-based photojournalist who has worked for The New York Times and other national media outlets.

This is the first time the race has received theatrical treatment since the 1979 Academy Award-winning film, "Breaking Away." "One Day in April" had its official premiere at Cinequest, a 13-day film festival in Silicon Valley.

Related Links

Women's Little 500

Kappa Alpha Theta again tasted victory in the women's Little 500 in 2014 and expects to contend in the 28th running of the race.

Print-Quality Photo

Black Key Bulls

Black Key Bulls, an independent team that bills itself as "the people's champs," won the 2014 men's Little 500.

Print-Quality Photo

Little 500 field

A complete field of 33 teams will be featured in both Little 500 races.

Print-Quality Photo

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