Carmel Marathon extra busy day for one runner


While playing soccer for Westfield High School, Ally Brettnacher hated running for conditioning.

But she started to embrace it to stay in shape as a student at Miami (Ohio) University.

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Carmel resident Ally Brettnacher prepares for the Carmel Half Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Ally Brettnacher)

The 2004 Westfield High School graduate ran her first half marathon in 2007.

“I ran the Indy Mini-Marathon and just sort of fell in love,” she said. “Now, running is my whole life.”

Now the 37-year-old Carmel resident is passionate about it and will run the half marathon in the Carmel Marathon April 13.

This will be Brettnacher’s eighth Carmel half marathon and 58th half-marathon. In addition, she has run seven full marathons. That will not be her only duty April 13 because she is serving as emcee for the award ceremonies and will have a vendor booth to represent her business, Athlete Bouquets.

When people register at, Brettnacher said they can order a bouquet or a mug.

She is making bouquets for the top three finishers in the different races. In addition to the marathon and half marathon, the event includes a 10K and 5K.

“Running is a great outlet mentally, especially being a mom of young kids,” Brettnacher said. “It’s nice to be able to get out and kind of have my time. I’m mostly competitive with myself, but I’ve been working on trying to improve my time and my speed. I was finally about to get my best time at the Indy Monumental last year.”

Brettnacher’s best half marathon time is 1 hour, 43 minutes and 14 seconds. She planned to try to break that in the Carmel race, but that’s no longer the case with all of her other commitments that day.

“My plan is just go out and enjoy the race, which as a competitive person is hard to do,” she said. “As I’ve been getting older and working on my speed, I’ve been occasionally winning age group awards, which is always really fun.”

She wants to run a qualifying time to become eligible to compete in the Boston Marathon when she gets into the 40-and-over age group.

Brettnacher, whose maiden name is Hill, started running with her father, Mark Hill. Her mother, Karen, was the first to run the Indy Mini-Marathon.

In addition, Brettnacher has a weekly podcast about running, called “Finish Line and Milestones,” that she started a year ago.

Brettnacher left her job in software shares at the end of 2020.

“It was a rough year with COVID, and I was pregnant with our second daughter at the time,” Brettnacher said. “I was scrolling through Instagram and saw real flowers that were made for a runner that had energy gels in it. That sparked the idea. I went down a Google rabbit hole to see if there was anything like that for runners like a gift basket or edible arrangements for runners, and there wasn’t. I started ordering stuff on Amazon.”

She watched crafting videos on YouTube and learned how to design and make the mugs. She started on Etsy and now has her own business website,

“My husband (Zach) has a corporate job, so this allows me the flexibility to do it,” said Brettnacher, who has daughters, Sydney, 6, and Sloane, 3.

After college, she started working for the Orr Fellowship designed to keep the best and brightest in Indiana.

“It was an entrepreneurial-type program,” she said. “I did that for a couple years but most of my career has been in software sales.”

She said she gets her entrepreneurial spirit from her father and mother, Karen Hill, who started a software business in Carmel. Her parents now split their time living in Carmel and Naples, Fla.

Learn more about the Carmel Marathon events at