The race name, distance, and course have been modified since its inception in 1979. Initially a 10k (6.2 miles), it became what we know as the 4-Mile Classic in 1984. The course changed in 2009, but unfortunately the hills were not removed. One will notice while running that part of the course is on Hill Street. It’s now a championship race that customarily begins the second half of the Arkansas Grand Prix Series.
The formula for this classic race is usually hot, humid, and hilly. With the start being around 85°F, that formula remained the same for the 34th rendition. However, runners, volunteers, and spectators welcomed the cloud cover. Davy Insell, president of White River Road Runners, was at the helm this year as the race director.
Over 200 runners showed up to embrace the heat. Cabot Country Cruisers and Arkansas Running Klub had good representation as they painted the town red and yellow. The mayor of Batesville, Rick Elumbaugh, came out to get the race started with a blast.
Daniel Kirwa was the overall winner in 20:07, but he was unable to claim the $250 prize for breaking the course record he set last year. Aimee Larkin was the first female finishing in 24:35.
A recent graduate of the Batesville Women Can Run Clinic, Clara Nikkel finished in 53:47. I was thoroughly impressed by this six-year old. Davy Insell said, “We start them off young here.” Andy Buschman and Jack Heston crossed the finish line for the thirty-fourth consecutive time. They are the only two people to finish every race.
The Arkansas RRCA state rep, David Meroney had a booth setup highlighting RRCA programs and he also had door prizes for entrants including two free entries to St. Jude Marathon weekend. This is exciting, especially since it’s sold out. Lalita Flagg (Western Arkansas Runners) was one of the lucky two to claim one of the entries.
The 4-Mile Classic wasn’t the only race. The Kids’ Race featured a kid running out of his shoes. He didn’t stop either. That’s called dedication!