It’s a Challenge. It’s a family friendly race. The Spa Running Festival – November 18th.
There are many races that we have opportunities to run in our region. But you should really look at the Spa Running Festival. No doubt you’ve heard about it. It’s growing. Did you know that it was recognized by Runner’s World Magazine as one of the ‘top races to run’ in a national park. Ok that’s pretty cool. And it’s right in our back yard. Supporting our neighbors and a few very worthy organizations, too (see below for more on charities).
And it has a special history for Go!’s chief running officer, Gary Taylor. ”The SPA Running Festival is a wonderful event,” he noted, “but for me it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first road race I ran in America, 35 years ago in 1982. I was a redshirt freshman at U of A and John McDonnell thought I needed a good race, so he sent me off to run the Spa 10K. Back then it started near the old Cinema and ended at The Arlington. I have vivid memories of finishing the race along Central Ave looking at the bathhouses. Over the years, it’s been great to watch the race evolve into the amazing festival it is today.”
Run Where Legends have gone before you!
The Spa Running Festival has grown into a key running festival in the South, attracting runners from several states with a 5k, 10k, or half marathon. When you run the 10K or half marathon, you will be running down the same streets where legends such as Babe Ruth, President Roosevelt, and Bugsy Malone. “This will be the 36th year for the Spa 10K and 5K race,” said Cindy Baswell, race director. “When we added the Half Marathon in 2015, we rebranded the race name to Spa Running Festival as it now offered an event for everyone from the kids, to beginners and those that like a challenge running West Mountain with the 10K and half marathon.” Cindy said adding the Summit² Challenge Half Marathon provides additional excitement, “and gives us more exposure, as we are attract runners from all over the United States. It’s wonderful that they get to see what the Spa City has to offer with the National Park, historic bathhouse row and the thermal hot springs water. It’s a great weekend getaway.” The 2017 race is fast approaching. Cindy shared with us some new festival attractions. “We have some new features this year with the addition of the Expo on Friday, a new flat and fast 5k course, 10K finishers medals and 5K finishers commemorative awards – so we keep making enhancements that makes it a great race experience for the race participants. I love that the race is the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so it’s a beautiful time of the year with the fall foliage and running through West Mountain. I invite all runners to ‘Come Run With Us’.”
There’s still time to Register (but many races are selling out fast): http://sparunningfestival.com
Benefitting Local Charities
The festival is run 100% by volunteers, which means the race entry fee goes directly back to the community. The festival supports three worthwhile organizations:
- Teen Challenge of Arkansas is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to biblically educate men 18 and older with life-controlling problems. This is accomplished through educational programs that are biblically sound and highly structured. http://www.teenchallengear.org/
- The Friends of the Parks is a non-profit organization dedicated to development and stewardship of Hot Springs area public parks Individual and Corporate partnerships are available for projects identified in the Hot Springs Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. The master plan is a comprehensive guide for future park, recreation and open space development. http://www.hsfriendsoftheparks.org/
- Proceeds from the Festival also fund numerous Buzz Wilson scholarships awarded to local high school seniors involved in the sport of running and/or fitness and who exemplify the principles identified in the Spa Pacer’s mission statement.
Expo: Friday from 3-5pm.
The Spa Running Festival Race Expo will take place at Hotel Hot Springs & Spa, 305 Malvern Avenue (Malvern Avenue at Convention Blvd). Admission to the Expo is free and it is open to the general public.
Go! Running will be at this year’s expo. Come see us and join in this popular running festival. We are so proud to be a sponsor and love being part of its history. Pack up the family and come see us in Hot Springs!
The “real” Arkansas Traveller – all 100 miles of it.
It’s dark in the Ouachita forest in the middle of the night, but the evening shines pretty brightly for more than 160 ultra runners who came from around the county to navigate their way through one of the oldest 100-mile races, the Traveller. Lou Payton, the first female to ever do the grand slam, founded the race with her husband Charley in 1991. Chrissy Ferguson, who directed the race for the past 15 years – and will be running her 20th Traveller this year – said, “The best thing about the Traveller are the aid stations and volunteers. In Ultra Running Magazine, it was voted to have both the best volunteers and aid stations of any other 100 miler. My favorite part of the race is running over Smith Mountain on the return, about 71/72 miles into the race. I’ve picked up my pacer and it’s so dark on top of the mountain if you turn your flashlight off you can see a billion stars. When you shine your light in the mowed grass, you can see the twinkle of spider eyes as you run.”
Photo Credit: RunArkansas.com
The Traveller is one of the Western State’s qualifiers, the grandfather of 100’s and one of the oldest 100-mile races. If you want to test your ultra running skills, the Travellers is a great race to start with and you are guaranteed to be challenged from beginning to end. Many runners enjoy this race so much, they come back to the AT100 year after year. The scenery of the Ouachita Forest is beautiful and the volunteer support at the aid stations is a lifesaver. They encourage you, give you a shoulder to lean on or to help stretch out tired legs and feed your belly as well as your spirit. When you see an aide station up ahead, seeing the laser lights and the disco balls is almost like seeing a shining beacon of hope. Stacey Shaver, an AURA ultra runner who just this March completed her 100th ultra distance race shared, “The volunteers are what makes the Traveller so unique. Every time I race out of state, I’m quickly reminded of how spoiled we are with AURA. There are aid stations every 4 to 5 miles where you could go 8 to 10 elsewhere. I can’t imagine the effort it takes to gather and coordinate that many volunteers. Not only the abundance of aid stations but it’s also the people who offer up their time are so special. They ALL go out of their way to ensure we are well cared for. Many would literally give you the shirt off their back. I think this alone gives the race a magical feel to it, which is why so many keep going back to it, including myself.”
Photo Credit: Arkansas Outside
The race starts THIS SATURDAY MORNING and continues in to Sunday morning. The Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Network tracks the runners live and the Williams Junction Fire Department is always close by for any runners who are in distress. We also couldn’t do the race without the pacers. Stacey loves sharing miles with her pacers and says it’s uplifting to be able to run beside a friend and talk; it makes the miles go by fast. Join us along with the family and friends of AT100 and AURA runners to celebrate and cheer them on ever step of the way.
The Go! Breakfast Club
The Go! Breakfast Club –
It’s the end of a long run; sweat pouring, feet pounding, and stomach growling. Your body says you’re finished, but your appetite is just revving up.
Since September is Better Breakfast Month, we asked a few of our family of runners to share their favorite post run breakfast or recovery meal – something that gets them through and/or what they treat themselves to.
Here’s what they had to say:
“I like to make a recovery breakfast: omelet with lots of chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms and sometimes feta cheese.” – Lisa Mullis
“After a long run I immediately crave a good Pale Ale or IPA. When we run downtown we all like the Sausage, egg and pepper jack on an everything bagel at Andina’s Coffee Shop on 3rd St. My next go-to is an omelet and pancakes from either IHOP or Cracker Barrel. Then when we run from the heights I like the b-fast pizza at US Pizza brunch with a Bloody Mary.” – Chris Ho
“One of my favorite breakfasts after a good run is a slice of gluten free, Salba Chia sandwich thin (toasted) with avocado smashed on it, and topped with a slice of tomato, a few leaves of spinach, and the tofu breakfast strips from the no meat athlete cookbook. As a vegan, I love that I get a good bit of protein to help rebuild my muscles with no animal byproducts or meat. I like to bake enough tofu strips for a few days to be able to make it a fast breakfast.” – Andi Stracner
“My favorite post-run breakfast is scrambled eggs with avocado and a big cold glass of 2% milk. And when the need strikes, I add wheat toast. Yum.” – Monica Ritchie
“A killer long run for me is a fast, hilly 30 mile run in the National Forest. Because of the distance to get there I have to be creative in finding things I can carry in my cooler that won’t spoil before I get finished. I try to ensure that I have a good source of protein and healthy carbs. Usually that is a wrap with avocado, lettuce, tomato, and a chickpea burger with fruit on the side or a quinoa salad either homemade or purchased from a specialty grocer and a good craft beer. My theory is that I can splurge on a little junk food after a long run but I typically don’t because I honestly enjoy the healthier stuff. Every now and then I do crave a cheeseburger and I almost always indulge when the mood strikes.” – Stacey Shaver-Matson
What is your favorite post-run meal? We know something just popped into your mind. So share it! We’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below or on Facebook.
‘Walk a Mile in Their Shoes’ – Shoe donation drive the month of September
Give Your Running Shoes New Life
The fall weather is on the way, school has started and with that, we begin to look in our closest to pull the warmer gear forward. And right in front of you are a line of running shoes on the floor. Wondering what to do with your old used running shoes? Donate them. Bag up your running shoes and bring them to us!
Since we opened our doors in 2010, Go! Running has been recycling running shoes to those in need. We collect them every day of the year, but each year, we bring attention to the need to help others with ’A Mile in Their Shoes’,” which is an annual month-long running/walking shoe donation drive, inspired by the understanding that even if you’ve run the last mile in a pair of running shoes, these shoes still have a long life and can go to someone in need to live out the rest of their miles.
Special Thanks to the gals who got it all started: Mary Wells and Sarah Olney –
We have to give special thanks to two amazing Little Rock Road Runners, Mary Wells and Sarah Olney, who started recycling running shoes in their garage to help others. They shared their passion, time and community need, and when we opened our doors, we offered to help. What started out as a drop off location has turned into a daily community-giving program. Today, we give to as many groups in need as possible: Our House, CASA, The Van, Homeless Shelters and other charities contact us when they are in need.
Help a Child – NEED Kid’s shoes.
The shoes we need the most are kids shoes. Over 13 million children are living in poverty in America and don’t have access to new clothes or shoes to go back to school. And there are many kids in our area who need help. So instead of throwing those shoes away or putting them in a yard sale, donate them to a great cause. It could make a child’s day! We believe in helping others, and the shoe drive is one way we can do that. Let’s help others in need in our community. We can’t fill this need without you!
Running Shoe Recycling and Donation Drive
What: “A Mile in Their Shoes”
When: All September
Where: Go! Running, 1819 N Grant St, Little Rock
Cross Country Season is here… Go!!
The nerves and excitement grow, the racers tow the line and a few strides later, the gun goes off as 400 runners come rumbling and thundering down the start – elbow to elbow- toward a rapidly narrowing path. It’s an exciting time of year because cross country season begins! 3.1 miles of unbridled countryside. Sometimes it’s muddy. Sometimes it’s hot and hard. But always Fabulous! Go Running loves supporting our local cross country teams, and we can’t wait to hear all your war stories, help you find the right spikes and shoes, and cheer you on through your cross country journey.
“It’s about the experience,” said Erin Taylor, xc runner & enthusiast, and owner of Go! Running. “To me there was nothing like it. Every race was different. Ever course a new challenge. Champions are made on the cross-country fields and it’s all about strategy and overcoming the factors that are always unpredictable. It’s not about your time. It’s about how you and your team run that particular course on that particular day. And I love being part of the team”.
We caught up with a couple of our local cross-country coaches to hear why they love cross country:
“I love seeing young athletes improve over the course of a cross country season. It’s always fun to see hard work rewarded, whether it’s a team victory in a meet or an individual athlete’s personal best performance. Also, I really enjoy getting to know the athletes that I coach. We have about 180 cross country athletes in grades 7-12 in Bryant. Some of them are very talented and may have a chance to compete in college. I would hope that all of our athletes, regardless of ability level, come out of their high school cross country experience with a love for running, which they take with them for a lifetime of fitness.” – Steve Oury
“There are no bench warmers in cross country. It is a great team sport. It rewards athletes who have or develop a strong work ethic and self discipline.” – Karl Koonce
“I really love the way our team becomes a family. We encourage and support each other because we understand the hard work and sacrifices we are all making. It doesn’t matter if you are the fastest or slowest person on the team, everyone can get better with hard work. I love watching my slower and less confident runners improve and surprise themselves with what they accomplish!” – Christy Nipper
Photo Credit: Arkansasonline.com
Time to Spike it up!!
High School Runner’s Discount
We have the XC spikes from Nike, Brooks, Saucony, and NB for all ages. Nothing better than the mud, the guts and the hills – except maybe racing in your new shoes!
As always, Go! Running offers high school team runners:
- 10% discount for Spikes or Racing Flats
- 20% discount on a Shoe + Spike combo purchase
Like the sound of it? Come Run a XC Race:
And, if you need an extra race to run, come see us at the Minute Man 5k on September 9th. There’s an open division, so adults can sign up too! Really, don’t miss it! And Cheer on our awesome HS Runners. Here’s the link to sign up: http://bit.ly/2uKOlIE
This Saturday, Shop Tax FREE!
It’s sales tax holiday… and that’s good news! While everyone is fighting over pencils and binders at discount stores, you can come into Go! Running and pick up some great deals on running gear and shoes AND pay no sales tax on qualifying items (such as shoes, accessories, bags, apparel, and more) – in a far more relaxed, friendly environment!
Skip the lines & Get a little Extra.
Skip the lines and hang out with us. Surprisingly, there’s a lot of things you can save on! Go! Running has everything you need. Since some items must be under $100 or $50 to qualify for the tax discount, we are giving an additional discounts up to 15% on some of these items. And, this will include several of our shoes. Is there a pair of shoes at the store you’ve had your eye on? Now is the time to get in the shoe of your dreams.
In addition to these discounts, you can also still get your club or military discount with your purchase, which means you can save even more! And all purchase go towards your Run Rewards, where you can earn a $25 credit on a purchase.
A lot of the store is on sale, but not everything. Here’s what you can get a discount on this weekend.
· Clothing under $100 including tops, tanks, shorts, hats, insoles, sandals, rainwear, socks, underwear and bras.
· Clothing accessories under $50 including hair bands, jewelry, sunglasses, and spibelts.
· School Supplies including bags and backpacks.
If you come to the store and aren’t sure if a certain item qualifies for the sale, just ask! We can also place special orders and qualify you for the tax break, but you must make payment this weekend. Shoot us a message if you have any questions and we hope to see you this Saturday! Tell us about your fall plans with all your “back to school” freedom!