It doesn’t get much better than a cold slice of watermelon on a hot day. The Watermelon Festival in Hope is a chance to enjoy all things watermelon. It has been around for 37 years. Equally as impressive is the Watermelon 5K, which has been part of the event schedule for the same amount of time. The Melonvine Striders make sure you remember Hope, as you take part of it with you.
The sweltering heat and high humidity of August is “perfect” for running. Just over 450 runners and walkers hoped for the best. As the Grand Prix season draws to a close, state championship races become more important. It’s shaping up to be a battle to the last race.
Mark Gunter not only came to run, but to impress. I think he had somewhere to be afterward or he objects to typical running apparel. He was the only person I saw dressed in this fashion. Others showed their club pride with singlets and shirts that would be soaked upon returning. After the start, Don Still said this was a great photo opportunity as no one would look as good once they finished. The national anthem was played via trumpet while Marvin Fisher held the flag as he does at many races.
Sponges residing in ice cold water awaited runners after crossing the finish line. If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying one of these after finishing a hot race, you are missing out. A dip in the pool to cool off before heading to the shower is a nice consolation for running in the heat. It’s good Melonvine Striders arrange these types of race amenities. Following the 5K is the Melon Mile. You have to run a mile with a watermelon. Hope has grown some of the world’s largest watermelons. Good luck in that race. Too bad this isn’t true. The Melon Mile is a race for kids.
Imari Dellimore burst back onto the Grand Prix scene winning in 16:51. He led the charge for the Little Rock Roadrunners Club to win the men’s team competition. The LRRC men are in a constant battle with Melonvine Striders for the men’s top spot in the Grand Prix. Grant Jarvis (17:02) and Watkins Fulk-Gray (17:14) were second and third.
Lindsay Petruck (20:42), Rocio Basilio (20:46), and Bethany Mooney (20:59) were top female winners. Two of the three female winners are LRRC members, which helped them secure the team victory. Arkansas Ultra Running Association has a firm hold at the top. They’ve either won or been second in 9 of the 13 races.
How many medals do you have that you can’t use? Unless you have one that doubles as a bottle opener or you’re going to use the Little Rock Marathon medal as a plate or blunt object, your answer is more than likely zero. To alleviate yet another useless medal, merchandise awards were given to the winners. They need to disclose this information pre-race. I really could have used another lawn chair. Oh, you’d run for a medal, but not a lawn chair?
The third Grand Prix race this month happens on August 31 in North Little Rock. Using the same course as the Race to Remember 5K, it’s sure to be a fast race. Arkansas Running Klub will host the Arkansas 5k Classic for the 32nd year.