Amy is officially a Marathon Maniac! (Photo: Christine Meroney)

Hogeye Marathon

Ozark Outdoor Supply Spring Hiking Ad

When someone thinks of a hilly marathon in Arkansas, Hogeye Marathon tops the list.  Although no longer on the top ten list of hilly marathons in the country, the course remains one runners love to hate.  If it’s not the weather, it’s the hills, or the wind.  With all of those hindrances, it doesn’t stop runners from returning year after year.

This year the race committee decided instead of climbing the hill to finish on Fayetteville Square, the finish would be downhill on Dickson Street.  With the trail going around Lake Fayetteville finally complete, it made it more accommodating.  

For the past two years Hogeye has been a Grand Prix team points only race.  To get points teams had to run the relay.  Clubs would have at least one team, but several had more.  Since Hogeye has returned as a state championship race in the marathon distance, previous relay runners would probably choose to run the marathon for team and individual points.

Injuries could not stop George and Vickie from cheering everyone on!  Love these WARriors!
Injuries could not stop George and Vickie from cheering everyone on! Love these WARriors!

The last few years have been interesting at Hogeye.  In 2011, it was hot and windy.   Gusts of wind around 40 miles per hour were no fun.  Who runs during a lake wind advisory?  Runners do!  In 2012, the ominous clouds threatened us while the presence of tornadoes lurked in the background.  Who runs during a tornado warning?  Runners do!

This was the fourth change of the Hogeye course.  The race started on the Fayetteville Square after what sounded like a barbershop quartet sang the National Anthem.  The first couple of miles were rolling.  As we approached the fourth mile, Greg Puckett said, “To your left is the oldest Duggar child’s house.  He has two kids and one is on the way.”  He confessed to being addicted to their show on TLC.

Greg is behind our Arkansas RRCA State Rep, David.  He’s wearing bib 313.  (Photo: Christine Meroney)
Greg is behind our Arkansas RRCA State Rep, David. He’s wearing bib 313. (Photo: Christine Meroney)

Running past the home of the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival brought back some memories.  Around 8.5 miles, half marathoners and full marathoners split.  Luckily, the half marathoners didn’t have to climb Vantage Drive.  The wind was blowing and it was a gradual, steady climb.   Not too long afterward, the runners merged onto the Lake Fayetteville Trail.  Five miles later after running around Lake Fayetteville, one could enjoy going down Vantage Drive.  That was nice, but the wind was still blowing steadily.

After the descent of Vantage Drive, we hopped on Mud Creek Trail for an out and back.  Numerous friends were seen in passing, but the out and back seemed like it went on forever.  I kept thinking where is the turnaround?  After passing a school and going into a neighborhood, we were blessed with the turnaround, which was around the 30k mark.  For those that aren’t accustomed to the metric system or don’t have an app handy, that’s 18.6 miles. 

We passed the last relay exchange point and headed back.  It was in the next stretch of 6 or 7 miles that aid stations spoiled us.  Cold water, ice, cookies, candy, cold towels, and music were frequent.  That’s exactly when runners usually need it the most.  I couldn’t thank them enough! 

One aid station had the Foo Fighters song, “The Pretenders,” on repeat.  We passed them twice.  It’s great to get a boost that far into the race.  The chorus of the song is still in my head. “What if I say I’m not like the others? / What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays? / You’re the pretender. / What if I say I will never surrender?” 

There was no way Hogeye was going to have me surrendering today!  It was hot and at times windy, but that wouldn’t stop us.  One of my friends said, “The race doesn’t start until mile 20.”  Another one said, “Really, because I feel like my race will be over at 20.”  Either way both of them crossed the finish line. 

Amy is officially a Marathon Maniac!  (Photo: Christine Meroney)
Amy is officially a Marathon Maniac! (Photo: Christine Meroney)

Seeing a king snake on the trail around mile 22 made me more alert.  It was around this time that the course marking was unclear.  We ran through a tunnel that shielded the sun and wind, but it had us wondering had we made a wrong turn.  After confirmation from passing cyclists and a race official, we felt relieved.  Before we knew it, we found ourselves approaching the final hill. 

Once we got to the top, it was like being on a roller coaster.  I let go and took advantage of the downhill.  Friends were cheering as we made our way to the Dickson Street finish.  It would’ve been a great way to finish, except there was a sharp, right turn just before we crossed the final timing mat.  

Because of an error made by the company that provided the medals, too many relay medals had been shipped.  I understand those kinds of things happen.  The volunteers did a good job of calming people down and dealing with the issue.  It wasn’t their fault. 

However, there were some runners that wanted their medal immediately.  No matter how angry, disgruntled or upset, they’d have to wait like everyone else.   It’s not like I could eat a drink a medal.  It’s shining and pretty, but it would not feel the void of food.  In that area, this race never seems to disappoint.  An ice bath was available and I saw people diving in. 

Coming off a Capital City Classic 10k win, Timothy Richard won sailing to a downhill finish in 2:38:07.  Brian Hurley came in behind him almost thirteen minutes later in 2:51:24.  Six years ago, Brian won the race.  Brian Sieczkowski was third in 3:10:58.

Fayettevillian Tiffany Redlarczyk was third last year, but this year she was overall female winner in 3:12:15.  Stefanie Tierney (3:31:35) and Tammy Walther (3:45:39) finished second and third respectively. 

Cabot Country Cruisers, Conway Running Club, Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs, and Team Loco showing the love!  They’re smiling because they are finished!
Cabot Country Cruisers, Conway Running Club, Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs, and Team Loco showing the love! They’re smiling because they are finished!

All races have room for improvement.  The committee will take the suggestions, complaints, and ideas into consideration.  As we look forward to 38th Hogeye Marathon, let’s pray for cooler weather.  Next year’s date, Sunday, March 30, 2014, should help with that.  For those that love to hate the course, they’ll be back regardless.

Congratulations to all the finishers!  Missy, that’s marathon number two.  What’s next?  Loved how you and Jana were representing the polka dot headbands.  We rock those dots!  Greg, you have to find another race to make this Marathon Maniac dream a reality.  Amy, you are officially a Marathon Maniac, but after running some of the race with you, there is no doubt in my mind that what you are goes beyond the confines of being a maniac.  Christi, we are both nuts for doing Hoof It For Heifer 20k Trail Run the day before, but you can’t deny it was fun!

Complete Results by Mac’s Race Timing

Searcy County Waterfall

When I’m not running, volunteering, or writing, you can usually find me lurking on Twitter, blogging at ICEdot Athletes, or on #Runchat.

Mullet Run - Northwoods Trails - Hot Springs
See also  The Best Running in the Most Unexpecting Place

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *