👁 🏃🏻♀️ 1️⃣0️⃣ ⭕️ in Arkansas! 🤪
I decided to tack this race onto a work-week. I was in Bentonville the week prior and found this local grassroots race on Saturday. The boys ski all day Saturday and Sunday, so as expected, they wouldn’t miss me.
When I signed up for this race, the map on the race website indicated it was a “5 mile – 10k loop.” 🤔 Instantly, I was perplexed. That didn’t add up. 😐 I emailed the RD (after I had already signed up), and he was like, “oh yeah, sorry. That’s a mistake. It’s a 1.3 mile loop… 10 times.” JFC. ARE TOU KIDDING ME. I ALREADY SIGNED UP. 😩
Surprisingly, in the beginning, I was actually okay on the ten loops until about loop seven. At loop seven, I was instantly annoyed and I hated the loops, the course and the person who thought a ten loop marathon would be cool. This was the first time I had done a marathon with this many loops.
The drive from Bentonville to Conway is about 2.5 hours. Conway is such a cute college town. I was happy to learn that this race had a maximum of 130 runners. “Runners.” Before I begin my rant, let me say that I am so happy that people show up. Your pace and speed do not matter. You show up, and trust me, I struggle with my slower race times. I try to run the whole time, but I run a lot slower now than I did 10 years ago. HOWEVER, if you are a marathon walker and you picked a race like this because of the generous finish cutoff (8-hours), there are a couple of things you could consider. Such as:
(1) do you need to race-walk four people wide? It’s a tight bike path that barely fits two-wide and it’s a hazard to pass you. Arkansas is the capital of mountain/bike path biking, FYI. It’s never a running path. It’s always bike path. We runners are guests. Always. Check yourself.
(2) do you really need to have a portable, non-headphone speaker blaring tunes while you run (or walk, actually). Really? They DO make speakers that fit in or over your ears (bone induction). We all don’t need to hear your 💩 music. It is so inconsiderate.
(3) this might be a controversial statement (and really, it applies to everyone In the race), but do you need to hoard all the race supplies along the way? By mile 18, everything was cleared out and people were stuffing things in their pockets to take with them (e.g., a half marathon walker shoving six gels in their pocket when the have one mile left). 🙄 Don’t hoard. Take only what you need. Leave something for everyone.
Onto the race. I really loved the spirit of the small, local event. As expected, there were more people running the half than the full. It was nice that after the fifth loop it thinned out. It wasn’t so nice that after the fifth loop, I had five more loops left. Ha ha. The volunteers and the aid stations were incredible. Top notch and the best I’ve seen in a really long time. Each time I passed through, a volunteer would ask, “runner 1048, what do you need when you pass back through?” …and whatever I shouted out, they had in hand waiting for me. That was amazing!
I enjoyed the beautiful day. The course actually ran almost .50 too long. I confirmed it with the timing crew when I finished. Sooo…my official finish time was actually 5:00:03, but when I reached 26.2, I clocked my full time at 4:54:46. I was pretty annoyed by this. This was a good experience, but I won’t do another course with a 1.3 mile loop (TEN times). Loved the small event. Onward..