WRA – Celebrating 20 years of Empowering Women
Each year, Go! Running has the opportunity to meet some amazing and inspiring women all across central Arkansas through the Women Run Arkansas (WRA) clinics. This organization has been sponsoring FREE run/walk clinics across the state since 1997. This 10 week training program begins the first week in March and finishes with a 5k on May 13th. Since it’s well underway this year, we’d like to give a shout out to all the amazing women who are out there right now, making their goals a reality. Congrats.
Recently, Go! Running caught up with a few of the leaders of local WRA groups to see what they had to say about this wonderful group of women runners:
Monica Ritchie – North Little Rock
When we asked Monica what her favorite thing is about her group she said, “The smiles, the encouraging words, experiencing their successes while achieving a few of my own. Meeting so many different women with different stories, careers and personalities is incredibly inspiring. It’s absolutely refreshing and fulfilling to be part of a group with similar goals. When women find the strength they seek within their selves they find it changes them somehow. Usually for the better. It takes a leap of faith to join a large group of strangers to do something you have never done before. I think this is why we have so many return every year. It’s empowering to know that the smallest changes in your life can make the biggest impact.”
Getting to know Monica. Monica is the co-director of the North Little Rock WRA group and has been running for 7 years. She is also President of the Hot Legs Running club and enjoys exploring, running and walking on wooded trails all around the state. She especially loves her WRA running group. She loves watching women become friends and support and motivate each other at the WRA clinics. The group empowers women to run through action and understanding. They understand that every woman is different but everyone has the ability to achieve goals. This group lends support to runners and walkers of all levels and no woman is left behind on the trails.
Monica’s favorite race is the Village Creek 25K at Village Creek State Park. She said, “There is something about gorgeous trails in the woods with spectacular views that give me peace and bring me back year after year.”
Join Monica and the North Little Rock WRA group on Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30 at Burns Park Soccer Field. There is access from here to all the various paved trails in the area as well as all the gorgeous views along the river trail system.
Lisa Perk – Little Rock Fellowship
When we asked Lisa what makes this chapter of WRA so special she said, “The clinic is a truly special group – although we have many returning faces each year, our new participants seem to feel like long-time friends from the minute we start our workout. We have a dynamic group of leaders and my co-director Barbara Sugg is the peanut butter to my jelly.”
Getting to know Lisa. Lisa claims herself to be an adult onset runner, because she picked up the sport at age 39. She started running with a small group of women and fell in love with the sport. When she moved to Little Rock in 2012, she sought out the running community here, which has provided her with new friends and wonderful opportunities to give back to the running community. She especially loves working with her chapter of WRA because the group welcomes all women at all levels of running. Their group even has a stroller moms walking group. WRA is truly a judgment free place to exercise and the leaders really create a safe space where women can be enthusiastic about running and healthy living. This chapter of WRA meets at Fellowship Bible Church on Kirk Road Mondays and Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Wendi Holzkinecht – Hillcrest
When we asked Wendi what her favorite thing is about her group, she said: “I love seeing the ladies transformation about themselves, especially Week 5, when the ladies start seeing a big change.”
Getting to know Wendi. Wendi is the director of the WRA Hillcrest Runners and has been running for 11 years. She loves this group of ladies that lead and participate in WRA. Wendi enjoys helping ladies become stronger and her favorite thing is seeing each woman’s transformation as a runner and a person. She especially enjoys week 5, when women really start seeing a change. Her favorite race is Women Can Run 5K Run/Walk event in May when everyone “graduates” at this special 5k.
Not everyone runs. You can join a walker group, where your goal is to walk up to 3.1 miles using slow-fast intervals and increase your time to 50 minutes. You can also join one of their runner groups. The beginning group run/walks and their goal is to complete a 5k and the intermediate runners train to run consistently and run at least 4 minutes before taking a break. The Hillcrest WRA group meets on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 5:30 at the War Memorial Stadium Parking Lot, corner of Markham & Fair Park Blvd.
Proud to support:
Go! Running is so proud to support these clinics. And anyone who participates can come in during the clinic (Mar – May) and mention you’re running with WRA to get a 10% discount! We’ve had the pleasure of speaking at most of the clinics in and around Central Arkansas – on topics ranging from Good Form Running, to the importance of shoe fitting, motivation, bra fitting, tech apparel and more.
Many ladies from these groups have even formed their own local running groups and stay together year ‘round! And when they finish their clinics on Thursdays, often join in with the Go! Running Thursday night runs at 6pm. If you’re interested to learn more on WRA and sign up for the May 13th 5k, you can go to http://www.womenrunarkansas.net.
Enjoy each and every moment. Some of the best women we know are out there to help.