Fa…a long, long way to run 5k

NWACC - Trail Tech

(Another great race report from Arkansas Outside friend Nicholas Norfolk)

Whether it’s the location, the cause, the scenery, the camaraderie, or the course, we all run races for different reasons. Fa…a long, long way to run 5k is one of those races that satisfies any of those reasons or all of them. With a name taken from The Sound of Music, it’s not surprising this race benefits the Lakeside Friends of Fine Arts.

Arkansas is infamous for its indecisiveness when it comes to weather. A few days prior to the race the temperature was in the mid 80s, but not the morning of the race. I was positive it would warm up, but as I walked to find Jana Young, the Race Director, I hugged my arms missing the warmth of my vehicle. I thought to myself, “This is perfect weather for a run.”

As I surveyed the participants, I knew they were in for a treat. Hidden away in Hot Springs, Garvan Woodland Gardens epitomizes why we call Arkansas “The Natural State.” The location of the race was a 210-acre botanical garden of paradise personified. It doesn’t get much better than this.

The Wooded Course.
The Wooded Course.

After a few words from the Race Director, the runners were let loose. The course took full advantage of all nature had to offer. As you hit the trails, you could hear birds chirping and smell the trees in the brisk air. Being careful to watch your step, you navigated through the course. The students from Lakeside High School were out to support and make sure you were going in the proper direction. There are well over 3 miles of trails out there, so making a wrong turn could make for a long 5k.

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Situated on a dual peninsula, the Hixon Family Nature Preserve was one of the course highlights. The loop allowed you to watch the sun dance off Lake Hamilton as it kissed the shore. The sun was peaking through the canopy of trees, which made this part of the race experience mystical.

A beautiful day and place for a run.
A beautiful day and place for a run.

If one was concerned about any part of the course it was Old Brick Hill. As the sign indicated, it was “Slippery & Steep.” After conquering this part of the course, you were greeted by an array of colors that was most appealing to the eyes. The timing was perfect as the flowers were starting to bloom.

A word of warning.
A word of warning.

Rounding the final turn, the finish line is in site. With a nice downhill finish, runners are able to kick it in and leave it all on the course. You could feel the sun beaming on your face as you passed Garvan Pavilion on the right.

The race had close to 130 participants in its first year. Peter Zargari, Austin Rutledge, and Rich Wuensch were the top 3 male finishers. Jessie Jones, Katherine Brewster, and Catalina Lopez were the top 3 female finishers. Some of the finishers went back out to run others in. Among those finishing was the Race Director’s mom. She came in smiling with her daughter cheering her on. It was a proud moment for both of them.

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

Each winner was awarded a medal, keychain, water bottle, and cookie dough. I know the last one may seem out of place, but it’s not a typo. I asked them what happened to the milk. Maybe it will be available next year?

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If you are looking for a race to engage each of your senses, do not miss this one next year. You may be wondering why I didn’t mention anything regarding the sense of taste? I figured that was a given. Each person that took part in the race indulged in the taste of success and others also added fresh baked cookies later. Results

Searcy County Waterfall

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