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 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.
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
Go! Running with Meghan Lewis
If you are a part of the Little Rock running community, or have been to one of our Thursday night runs or Sunday trail runs, you have probably met Meghan Lewis. As soon as we met Meghan back in 2010, we knew we had to hire her to be on the Go! Team. Now she is the Manager of our little community running store and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We sat down with Meghan to ask her about her life in Little Rock and at Go!
Why did you start running?
I started running when I was 25. I grew up doing all sorts of outdoors activities with my family so being outside running just seems natural for me. And, at the time, it was a great way to take my mind off of things and de-stress. I really fell in love with running a couple of years later when I started trail running. I love hanging out in the woods, so running the trails is even better.
What brought you to Little Rock?
Before I came to Little Rock, I had just found out I was pregnant. My husband Nick and I were living in Oregon at the time, but we wanted to move to be a little closer to family in Memphis. A friend of Nick’s worked at a cycling company here in town and had a job available, so we chose Little Rock.
Tell us a little about running Go! Running (pun intended!)
When we moved to Little Rock, I knew I wanted to get a job at one of the running stores since I love to run. I heard about Go!, so I took my resume in and Erin called me that night to set up an interview. When I met Erin and Gary, we instantly clicked and I fell in love with them and the store. So I got the job! Gary and Erin are one of my favorite things about working at Go! And, I just love sharing running with other people in our community. I love my job.
How did you meet your husband?
We actually met through running! I was going to the University of Memphis getting my Bachelors in Fine Arts and met Nick through trail running. Our first date was a midnight run and then we went camping. Now, we have a 6 year old daughter, Nour.
What do you and your family like to do together?
We are an outdoorsy family. We run together and like going camping, going out for walks, hiking, canoeing, going to the trails, kayaking, or just anything outdoors. Nour and I also like to take photographs, garden, and paint together too.
What was your best run ever?
I truly do love running and I like to run whenever I get the time. In the heat, the snow, whenever! Every race is a different experience and a great way to explore different parts of the country.
What do you love MOST about running?
I don’t know how to describe it. Running began as something that was just mine, just for me, and a way to get away, decompress and de-stress. Running is just a part of me and who I am.
If you would like to meet Meghan, we invite you to stop by the store to chat with her. We welcome runners and walkers from all paces and walks of life. Come and be part of our running/walking community. Remember, every run begins with Go!
It’s a Full mOOn in the Ouachita National Forest
This Saturday is the 25th anniversary of the Full mOOn 50 & 25k, which is a race and as well as a celebration. The race is set on forest service roads in the Ouachita National Forest and the proceeds go to a good cause. “It’s easy to see why the Full mOOn is known as a good time that runners of all abilities look forward to all year,” said Gary Taylor, a many time Full mOOn finisher.” Starting in late in the evening, the balmy(!) weather, Susy’s unique pre-race instructions, running through the woods at night, and ending in a sudden oasis of light, music, food, and friends all makes this a run to remember. I love this race.”
The Best Night Run of the Year!
First of all, this race is no frills, fun and funky with an all night afterparty until 4 a.m. If you haven’t been to a night race with blaring music and disco balls, then you’re missing out on a really good time. The Full mOOn also brings it with food and drinks. Each aide station is like a golden corral buffet with water, gatorade, sodas, sandwiches, and even ice to put in your shirt or your bra when it’s 95 degrees outside. They bring in 300 lbs of ice just for the event! And, at the finish line, you will find a giant after party where there are people cheering you on at the finish line, music blasting, people dancing, and to top that, the Williams Junction Volunteer Fire Department fixes breakfast like bacon, eggs, hash browns, coffee, and pancakes until 4 a.m.
Photo credit: Arkansas Outside
Rocking Aide Stations
One of the best points of this race are the aide stations. According to race director, Susy Chandler, “It’s dark, hot, humid, and hilly as hell when you’re running then all the sudden you see disco balls and the aide station, which is a lot of fun and a bit of a relief!” Here, they have everything you need! Water, food, and aides to help with anything you need. Each aide station is staffed by an ultra runner who knows everything about running. If something is wrong, they will help you fix it. Susy also mentioned she loves how the trail race community is full of people who want to help. They want everyone to make it to the finish line, no matter what.
You won’t get lost, promise!
Are you wondering how they keep up with all the people running around the forest in the dark? 6 words sum it up: The Faulkner County Amateur Radio Club. The club mans the race and checks in at the aide stations to keep track of runners. They track all runners at three different points to make sure nobody gets lost in the woods. They can also radio back for help if they find anyone who is in trouble or can’t make it to the finish. To add to that, Go! Running puts the trail map on the bibs so everyone knows where to go. If you haven’t crossed the finish line by 4 a.m., a course sweeper will bring you back to the finish line.
Blind and Visually Impaired Division
We also asked what she’s most proud of about the race. Susy told us she is proud that the Full mOOn has a BVI division for Blind and visually impaired runners, which you don’t see a lot of in the running world. There are 3 runners in this year’s race in this division. How does this work? It’s easy! Each runner is assisted by a guide who tells them about the best place in the road to run and when another runner is ahead or approaching. This is such a wonderful thing! Special thanks to all the runner partners!
Sleep in on Saturday
We hope to see you Saturday at 7 for the race (be sure to sleep in as late as you can)! Registration is closed for this year’s event, but there are still volunteer opportunities available. If you need volunteer hours to get into a race or ultra miles for the UTS series, it’s not too late to sign up. Or, if you’re just ultra-curious or have friends and family that will be at the event, come party with us! You can visit the volunteer page or email email@example.com
Stick around for the Afterparty
One of the best parts of the race is the afterparty. And, with restrooms and showers on site, there is no reason not to stick around. Susy said one of her favorite parts of the race is at 2 a.m. where most of the 25k runners are finished and we’re still waiting on some 50k runners to finish. It seems like is a sea of sweaty runners, out in the middle of the forest, talking, eating, and sharing running war stories. And the talking is interrupted suddenly with an outburst of cheers when a runner comes across the finish line.
You don’t want to miss this race, even if you aren’t signed up. And if you are, Susy said to be sure to bring salt, a water bottle, and bug spray. And, if you don’t want a blister in the middle of your forehead, bring a bandana too! Look for Stacey Shaver at the aide station and give her a high five!
Nike ZoomFly, the #breaking2 shoe – ONLY at Go! Running
We are all fascinated with barriers, things that at the time seem impossible: going to the moon, climbing Everest, the sub 4 minute mile. The latest of these in the running world is the sub 2 hour marathon. A feat that will require a runner to run a 4:35 mile, 26.2 times!
Nike has set about this task with the ‘breaking2’ project. An elite team has been formed and everything from how marathon runners train to what they eat has been looked at and optimized. A key element is the shoes they wear for the sub 2 hour attempt. Nike threw away the book and took a radical approach to building a shoe that they believe can improve performance by up to 4%. The ZoomFly just launched this month and the only place in Arkansas you can try these on and buy them is at Go! Running. Nike selected Go! as the place to sell these shoes because they knew with our heritage of racing, we could understand and explain the benefits of these ground breaking shoes. Gary recently took these shoes for a spin. “They feel a little different when you first put them on”, he said, “but once you start running fast you can sense how they propel you forward. It’s pretty remarkable.” Be a part of running history, run in a pair of ZoomFly, only at Go! Running.
The Nike ZoomFly is unique because it is very different from any other shoe. This shoe was designed over a span of four years in the vision of running a marathon in 1;59:59 or less. The current record is held by Dennis Kimetto who ran his fastest marathon in 2 hours and 25 seconds in 2014. So Nike researched all aspects of running along with the design of this new shoe. How could they make a runner faster? Was it the running course, nutrition, optimal training, hydration, ideal weather conditions, or the sneakers? To conduct this research, they enlisted reigning Olympic Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, half marathon world record holder, Zersenay Tadese, and rising star Lelisa Desia to help them conduct research on every aspect of running while developing several prototypes of the best shoe ever. Now that they have arrived at the winning combinations of elements in this perfect new shoe, it was time to test out all their research.
Photo Credit: Cait Opperman for Wired
26.2 Miles in 1:59:59.
The test took place on a track in Monza with the three chosen runners who are involved in this project, Kipchoge of Kenya, Tadese of Eritrea, and Desisa. Along with them, a hand picked group of all-stars for pacers as well as a Tesla to pace in front of the runners. The race was set for 26.2 miles around 17.5 laps and all the runners were decked out in the most aerodynamic running gear and Nike’s new shoe. The pacers formed in a diamond of six pacers to shield each runner from the wind and they kept a 4.8km per hour pace, interchanging pacers when needed. There was also a team alongside the runners giving them a drink 7 minutes, staying beside them so they wouldn’t ever have to quit running. Although the race didn’t officially count against the previous world record holder, Kipchoge finished the Nike test marathon in 2 hoursand 25 seconds. Nike has officially changed the running game and they believe the 2 hour marathon world record can be broken.
Photo Credit: Chris Lawrence
Out Running or Outrunning?
You can think of the Nike ZoomFly as one of the fastest everyday running shoes Nike makes, whether you’re outrunning the competition, or out running the neighborhood. And, it’s proven to take your running to the next level. Here is a list of product benefits:
Full length carbon infused nylon plate delivers a propulsive sensation.
Lightweight foam insole provides highly responsive cushioning
Flywire reinforced lightweight upper for secure speed.
Stefan Guest, a senior designer at Nike, said the design’s success is in its mixture of elements, or the geometries of this new shoe. Nike tested through several prototypes before hitting the perfect mixture of elements needed to design the perfect marathon shoe. The end shoe resulted in runners burning 4% less energy while running on the treadmill and less foot soreness after running.
If you’re a marathon runner, we would love for you to stop by Go! Running and try out the Nike ZoomFly. And, when you get this cool new shoe and run the next Little Rock Marathon with your best time ever, you must come to the store and tell us all about it!