If running a mile is too short and a 5k is too far, the Arkansas Runner 2-Mile Race would be the perfect compromise between the two distances. For fifteen years, the Saline County Striders have held the race in downtown Benton.
Running may be free, but participating in races isn’t. The prices for race entries are steadily increasing. Occasionally you’ll get lucky and find a cheap race. This is one of those races your frugal urges can’t pass up, especially if you sign up early. If you’re a student (19 & under), you can run for free. You are afforded the same hospitalities and amenities that paying runners receive. As the website says, “You can’t get a better deal from your Momma.”
With the humidity hindering the participants’ breathing, it was a short, but tough race for everyone. Race Director Pete Ireland delivered his instructions before counting down to the start. The Striders added personality to the race with their colorful tutus. If the president of the Striders, Chris Hall, can wear one, anyone can, right?
David Mills, who runs for Arkansas State, won the race in 10:13. Morgan Reese, a senior at Benton High School, was second in 10:52. The two of them clearly distanced themselves from the field with both breaking the eleven-minute mark. Brian Riley finished in third over a minute and a half after Mills in 11:47.
Morgan Reese interview:
In a rare occurrence, male and female overall winners were a brother and sister duo. Lindsay Mills, who signed her national letter of intent with Arkansas State in February, finished in 12:49 to take the top spot. Jenna Brady (13:12) and Candy Sample (13:50) followed her for second and third.
After the race everyone congregated at the Saline County Courthouse. Participants replenished with refreshments and conversed about the race until the awards ceremony. I noticed the Striders had a great system in place for claiming the awards. By wearing aprons with the numbers 1-5 on them, it alleviated confusion that’s common during the distribution of awards. Maybe other clubs should follow suit. Some age group categories were very generous by going five deep.
Results – Overall | Age Group
Saline County Striders have two more races this year. Both are part of a series. The first is the Arkansas 20k on Saturday, September 21. It’s race #16 in the Arkansas Grand Prix Series. The second race is the Sunset 6/12/24 Hour Endurance Run, which starts Friday, November 29 and goes through Saturday, November 30. It’s race #6 in the Arkansas Ultra Running Association Ultra Trail Series.