Women run arkansas
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!
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.