Woodstock and Snoopy Runners.

It’s the Great Pumpkin!

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For those unfamiliar with The Great Pumpkin, Linus van Pelt said, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”  I’m sorry, Linus, but I must tell people about The Great 5K Pumpkin Run.

Getting into the spirit.
Getting into the spirit.

Filled with fun and pumpkins, this was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.  Upon arriving the colors of autumn could be seen in every direction.  Pumpkins, corn stalks, gourds, winter squash, and Osage oranges were spread throughout.  Whether you were looking for pumpkins to decorate or to make a delicious pumpkin pie, this was the place.

Let the fun begin!
Let the fun begin!

People gathered at the Historic Lonoke Train Depot for the festivities.  At a time when railroads were the main transportation, the depot was at the center of life in Lonoke.  It’s now a place where many community events continue to thrive.  The small race, in its third year, supports a big cause.  All proceeds benefit Open Arms Shelter, a shelter for abused and neglect kids in Arkansas.

Lonoke Physical Therapy led a stretch session to get everyone warmed up before the race.  Lonoke High School JROTC did the honors of presenting the colors.  Race director Amy Hill began the countdown to start the runners on a flat course that winded through neighborhoods before looping back to the depot.  She has made sure the race is on par with others by making the 5K USATF certified and having it chip timed.

Woodstock and Snoopy Runners.
Woodstock and Snoopy Runners.

Sticking with the Peanuts theme, if you were feeling adventurous, a yellow ribbon could be tied to your wrist or leg for added excitement of evading Snoopy and Woodstock on the course.  Your reward for escaping them was a free pumpkin.  As I interacted with them, their jovial demeanor expressed to me they had just as much fun trying to take the ribbons as people did in attempting to dodge them.

Emcee, Matt Mosler greeting Denise Tenney as she finishes.
Emcee, Matt Mosler greeting Denise Tenney as she finishes.

Matt Mosler from KARK and Andrea Sayers from Prevail Fitness were the voices runners and walkers heard as they finished.  Matt was giving high-fives and cheering everyone on while Andrea’s watchful eye keyed in on bibs in order to announce each participant by name.  They were a dynamic duo.

Having a good time on the course.
Having a good time on the course.

Neighboring Cabot made their presence known winning male and female overall for the second consecutive year.  Maybe some Lonoke runners will show up next year in hopes of reclaiming the titles for the home team.

Kris White (19:13) was able to hold off a final push from Jordan Woodson (19:18).  Brian Wagner (19:46) finished in third.

Kris White
Kris White

Samantha Nickell (20:48) was the first female finisher followed by Leslie McMillan (21:16) and Ginny Lantz (22:23).

Samantha Nickell
Samantha Nickell

At the awards ceremony door prizes were given.  Small kids won pumpkins almost twice their size.  As a birthday present to herself, Brenda Ransom won her age group.  Christine Meroney was ecstatic when she came in second in her age group.  Congratulations are in order for both ladies and all finishers.

The little ones were having a great time.
The little ones were having a great time.

After the ceremony, a one-mile family trot commenced from the same place as the 5K.  Families running with kids and strollers darted from the start.  Some wore festive costumes and others, fresh off a 5K finish, went out for more.

The live band, New Horizon, played music while people shopped for pumpkins, kids played in the bouncy house, looked for treasures in the corn box, or got their faces painted.  If you wanted to get a pumpkin personalized, monogramming was available.

P. Allen Smith leads a pumpkin decorating demonstration.
P. Allen Smith leads a pumpkin decorating demonstration.

P. Allen Smith led a workshop on decorating pumpkins that captured the interest of many.  His tips and tricks will make any fall decorating endeavor better.

A total of 166 runners and walkers finished.  Next year they are hoping to increase the number of participants and raise more awareness about Open Arms Shelter.  Shannon Holman and the Open Arms Shelter Advisory Board coordinated the entire event.

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

 

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