No one can ever say the Arkansas River Trail is neglected in terms of usage. Cyclists and runners can be found relaxing, training, or racing. How many races can you come up with that use some portion of the Arkansas River Trail? To make it easier, think about races that involve the Big Dam Bridge, Two Rivers Park, Murray Park, or Burns Park. Were you able to come up with at least five? Was River City 5k one of them?
I heard about this race two years ago, when a friend asked me if I wanted to volunteer at an aid station. I enjoy volunteering, but after hearing about who the beneficiary of the race was, I had to help. I remember being the only guy at the Go! Go! Girls aid station. I had a good time and I volunteered at the same aid station the following year. Traditionally, I’d volunteer at the race in the morning and run the Full mOOn 50k that evening. With the date change that was not the case this year.
On the last Saturday in June, River City Ministry put on their ninth annual event. Although the race wasn’t originally in Burns Park, they have made it home for the last few years. Typically in mid-July, the participants were not complaining about the break in the weather. The course is flat and if you’ve ever done long runs or ride on the North Little Rock side of the River Trail, you’ve been on part of the course.
The Race Start:
Former Harding runner, Reed Fisher (17:56) won for the second consecutive year. Roosevelt Barnett (18:20) jumped up a spot from last year to come in second. Alberto Basilio (18:28) trailed him to finish in third.
The women from Sherwood swept the top three. Brenna Johnson (20:28) was first. Two years ago she was the eleventh female running 25:44. Audrey Adkison was first last year. Although she cut almost a minute off her previous time, she came in second. Tammy Hughes (22:30) rounded out the top 3 to finish in third.
The shaded area for the awards ceremony was perfect. Participants listened to the tunes Ken McSpadden (Mac’s Race Timing) had playing at the finish line. Ken makes timing races a party. The food is always plentiful and nutritious. Being a fan of oranges I took my share and some for the road.
Next year will be a big year as River City Ministry celebrates its tenth year of the race. I was told tie-dye shirts may be part of the celebration.
Interview with Race Director Marci Rhodes: