Ainsley’s Angels are on a mission…
Ainsley’s Angels are on a mission…
…and Go! Running is proud to support and partner with them! Ainsley’s Angels gives children and adults with special needs the opportunity to run races across the country. Their main mission is to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life – to bring joy and acceptance.
The Little Rock Marathon Debut!
Currently in 30 states and 60 cities, they are brand new to Little Rock, and we need your help to officially welcome them to our community during the Little Rock Marathon this weekend. They are bringing 24 Angel Runners and 6 Athlete Riders to participate in this year’s race. We couldn’t be more excited that they are here and joining us for this beautiful event. And, we are sure that their spirit will make race day even better. Our own Meghan Lewis will be joining them as an angel runner! So cheer them on!
When Jarrett Banks came in our store, we knew this was meant to be. Some of you participated in a recent Thursday night run where we ran with one of our Athlete Riders and learned more about the program starting up here in Central Arkansas. So we asked Jarrett to share a little more about this life changing organization:
How does a race with Ainsley’s Angels work?
We pair Angel Runners with Athlete Riders (children and adults with developmental disabilities) in endurance events. Two to three runners are assigned to a racing chariot before each race. The Athlete Riders “Roll with the Wind” in life and in endurance events. We like to say that the rider in that chariot “pulls” us through the race and across the finish line! Anyone with a disability that prevents them from racing on their own may participate as an Athlete Rider.
What is the experience like for the Angel Runner?
Being an Angel Runner is the best running experience you will ever have. These athlete riders are gracious enough to be including you in their life, which is a really special thing. You learn things you have never even though about, like what it’s like to live with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or MS. That’s a powerful thing. And, the sense of fulfillment you get giving someone else the joy of finishing a marathon. Someone who thought they could never ever be in a race. It’s life changing.
What is the experience like for the Athlete Rider?
For the athlete rider, they are just like any other runner in the race. They register just like everyone else, get a t-shirt, go to packet pickup, get a medal. And they love getting to finish before the other runners. The athlete rider is the core of the team and pushes the team across the finish line with smiles, cheers and immeasurable inspirational spirit. We will be going to the expo, too… and we will be doing that this year, too. Stopping in to hang out with Go! Running for sure and other friends. We will have a booth there, too. So come see us!!
What is your favorite part about being an Ambassador?
The kids just smile and laugh, and the joy of the people that we push in each race. The first person I pushed was 48 years old. He said, “Jarrett Banks, I just never thought I could do anything like this and run in a race.” Just the joy they get feeling able bodied. For once, they don’t feel different. Before I did this, I always assumed that people with disabilities didn’t think about doing a race. But they really do! I hear them say they have friends who run, or they have always wanted to run a marathon.
How much does it cost for the participants?
Registration is free and provides each Athlete Rider with insurance during our events. Angel Runners will only be asked to make a small donation to cover the cost of the Ainsley’s Angels Tech Shirt to wear during our races ($25).
What made you choose the Little Rock Marathon?
We don’t actually choose races; we have to be invited to each one. We currently have a chapter in Northwest Arkansas and wanted to expand to Central Arkansas. I was doing the route 66 half marathon in Tulsa and I just happened to have a booth at the expo. Here I met Gina and Geneva (LRM chicks in charge). We visited and they invited us to come to the 2018 LRM. Since we have to be invited to any race we attend, we were all really excited about a chance to run the Little Rock Marathon. We’ve done 7 races in Western Arkansas (the first in September). Our first half was on February 11th – the Fort Smith half marathon. So this is our second half marathon to include people with disabilities.
What can I do to help or get involved? Go! fundraising for a chair this year.
We are currently looking for a Central Arkansas Ambassador who would help coordinate races, runners, and riders. Or, any volunteer who is great at fundraising or grant writing. We are also working on raising money for new equipment. Riders and runners don’t have to spend money to come to a race because we pay for everything. We need a few new chairs and a trailer to haul everything to each race. These special rolling chairs and cost $1,000. We raise money, donation by donation, or sometimes a company buys a chair and they get their logo on the side for every race. You can be a “Guardian Angel” and donate to Ainsley’s Angels through their website. Since our organization is 100% volunteer based, 95% of the donations stay right here in Arkansas and go directly to fund Riders and Runners in each race.
** Go! Running will be putting on a fundraising event to raise $$
for an Athlete running chair in the near future. So be on the look out!
Do you think you have what it takes to be an angel runner or an athlete rider? Ainsley’s Angels is currently recruiting angel runners of all paces as well as riders. Register at http://ainsleysangels.org.
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.