Running Through the Community: The Little Rock Marathon
It could be a new trail, a dog park, a kid’s playground, or maybe even helping to find a cure. And when you lace up those shoes and enter that race, you may be having a much bigger positive impact on your community… simply by running a race. We wanted to share some of those impacts – a few you may not expect! So over the next year, you’ll be introduced a little of the “back story” on some pretty familiar races.
So set a goal, Sign up for a race. And look at our community soar.
Since the Little Rock Marathon is right around the corner, we caught up with one of the Chicks in Charge – Gina Marchese, and she had some fun things to share! Read on… and don’t forget to join in the race on March 3rd and 4th!
Photo Credit: Little Rock Marathon
The Little Rock Marathon benefits Little Rock Parks, but what does that mean exactly for our running and walking community?
The Little Rock Marathon produced our first race in May 2003, and has contributed over 1 million dollars into our parks system, helped build an amazing, growing running community through free training, and annually provides about a 5 million dollar economic impact on Central Arkansas. Whew. So Thank you for running!!
Tell us about one of your favorite projects that has made a difference for the running community.
A little know face, is that we were part of the original group of communities that starting Global Running day in connection with New York Road Runners. It began as ‘National Running Day’ and then it caught on globally. We love being part of this and proud Go! Running is there, too.
The LRM Medal is famous… Tell us how it all began!
We started off with a standard size medal. Geneva and I ran another race in Texas and Geneva did the marathon and I did the half marathon. We got the same medal except for the wording, and we both looked at each other and said, “we can’t let that happen at our race.” So we got on the phone and changed our medals the very next day. We chose to GO BIG in Little Rock. As the years went on, (Geneva designs our medal and I am her focus group), we just kept enlarging the size to where we now have the distinction of having the largest finisher’s medal (that we know of). Runners World endorsed it. Thank you Bart Yasso!
Adding the LIPS!
At our 10th year, we added lips! I have a lip fetish, all kinds of lip stuff, so Geneva put it on the medal and we cracked up and have stuck with it ever since. We call it our race director’s kiss to all our finishers!
When did you decide to do a Medal Unveiling?
Oh, the early days of YouTube. We decided to unveil our medal and have a little fun with it, so we decided to do the unveiling at a press conference. The very day of first unveiling, Little Rock had an ice storm and the city was in lock down – so NO press conference, of course! But Geneva and I made it to the office and were determine to do something so we did a video on our phones, Kevin Clay (our video guru) uploaded it to YouTube, our video went viral and the rest is history as we say! We now do everything on social media. We say we put the FUN back into the medals. Now people run for the medals and we love that and do just the same. This year’s is lots of fun… and sealed with a kiss. Wishing you all the best of luck and lots of fun along the way. Come join us.
Be Safe, Be Seen, and Brighten up the Night
The weather is getting cooler, which means Fall is upon us and it’s just the best time of year to get out and run. THIS SUNDAY November 5th is the daylight savings time change… – “Fall Back”. That means it will get darker earlier in the evening and will still be dark in the morning, too! As runners, we need to be thinking about Fall Safety. Our motto year ‘round, but especially for fall is ‘Be Safe & Be Seen’. And, there are an array of things you can do. Outside of wearing reflective gear (shoes and apparel), you can find other sources to help you “light up the night”. Headlamps and other lights and true reflective night apparel (vests/shirts) are truly a must. Drivers are more distracted than ever – so protect yourself!
All week long at the store we will have “Light Up” specials – up to 20% off your favorite “be safe/be seen” products.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
1 Mile Road Race Celebrates “Lucky” Seventh Year
We’re getting pumped for lucky 7th anniversary of the Go! Mile – one lap, one mile, one fast little race – this Saturday, June 17th! The gun sounds for the first race at 7am at the Clinton Presidential Center. The Go! Mile is the state’s only sanctioned one-mile race. This event is a Central Arkansas favorite because it’s an easy entry into running for novices, a family fun event and there’s a great amount of crowd excitement. Fellow runners, friends, and families are encouraged to hang out and cheer on their favorite runners.
“Go! Mile running festival is not just for seasoned runners”, explains Gary Taylor, Go! Mile Race Director and Go! Running owner. “We have something for everyone, and with seven different heats it’s a race for the whole family – whether you’re an experienced runner or brand new to the sport. In fact, we welcome and celebrate first-time runners with their very own heat – The CHI St. Vincent First Mile. The excitement explodes when the elite heat runs; it’s rare that you get to see nationally ranked athletes run close to a 4- minute mile.”
Why Run the Go! Mile?
A Race for Everyone in the Family – Beginning with The First Mile for first time racers, to 4 Age Group races just for mom, one for dad, for brother/sister, friends AND the little “mini- mile” for kids… Everyone in the family can run and watch each other compete.
High-Energy Atmosphere – Races go off very 20 minutes, so someone is always starting and finishing! The course is spectator-friendly with clear views of the whole mile race. Easily move from the starter’s gun to the finish line in minutes.
Exciting Elite Race Mile – Where else can you go to watch truly elite runners race? Excitement and speed build, as we end the heats with the fastest race of the day. Elite runners are coming from all over country. Prize money is awarded to the top 3 Male and Female finishers, so the race is indeed competitive!
The Kid’s Mini Mile – A fun run that celebrates and encourages fitness for kids 9 and under. The run is just 1⁄2 mile, and part of the adult Mile course, so participants will experience the same excitement of the finish line as the adult runners. All finishers of the Mini Mile receive a special kid appropriate award.
7 Heats – Starting Every 20 Minutes
The Go! Mile is an exciting chip-timed, one-mile road race – rare on both points. This one-mile course provides runners with a fast and fun race experience. Races include: The First Mile for novice runners of any age, open men’s and women’s races, an elite mile race and a kid’s mini-mile for ages 9 and under. Just like the feel of a real track race, there is a gun start, times are called out at the quarter mile, the halfway mark has a clock and a bell is rung to signify the last quarter mile to go.
Signed up yet? The 7-heat event is open to all levels of competitors and includes a “mini-mile” for kids only. Entry costs are affordable too: $20 to enter (with t-shirt is $35). Kid’s Mini-Mile entry is only $5, OR, FREE with you have a Go! Mile Adult registration. So the family is truly encouraged to join in. Runners can register online at www.gorunning.com/gomile, and www.arkansasrunner.com, or visit Go! Running in the Heights, 1819 N. Grant St, Little Rock. 501-663-6800. Registration will also be available at the Packet Pick Up: Friday, June 16th at Go! Running 10-6, and race morning at the course on Saturday, June 17th at 6am.
Race Benefits The Winston Penn Wardlaw Scholarship Fund
The Go! Mile proceeds will benefit the Winston Penn Wardlaw Scholarship Fund to help young men from every walk of life have the same outstanding opportunity to attend Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Arkansas as Win did. Win Wardlaw was someone who truly gave so much of himself, and was actively involved in serving others and giving back. He embodied the community spirit of Go! Running. We are proud to donate the proceeds of this event to such a great cause.
After the Race, Take your Victory Lap!
Each runner will receive a wristband in their race packet. Wear and show your wristband at participating businesses and get special offers on entertainment, restaurants and shops in the area, just for running the race. Downtown Little Rock is rolling out the welcome mat, offering a family stay and play ‘Victory Lap Pass’ that includes savings and experiences at the Clinton Library, Museum of Discovery, Arkansas Arts Center, ESSE Purse Museum, Capital Hotel, Lost 40 Brewery, Boulevard Bread Company, and more.
The Victory Lap Pass
Special Thanks to the Little Rock Marathon for their on-going support. And BIG thanks to our sponsors.