Foggy morning at the Big Dam Bridge

MLK Run/Walk 5k 2013

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While some runners were running through wet, foggy woods near Arkadelphia another group was braving the wet weather at the Big Dam Bridge, this is their story.

At this time of year, many are training for the Little Rock Marathon.  The Arkansas Grand Prix Series hasn’t started and unless you’re participating in the Arkansas Running Klub Winter Series, the MLK Run/Walk 5k is one of the first opportunities to race on pavement in the New Year.

Foggy morning at the Big Dam Bridge
Foggy morning at the Big Dam Bridge

Arkansans are well aware of how unpredictable, yet classic Arkansas weather can be.  Two years ago during this race there was ice on the Big Dam Bridge.  Last year it was uncharacteristically warm.  This year, rain was in the forecast, but all that could be seen before the race commenced was a blanket of fog.

Just follow the dashed-line in the middle.
Just follow the dashed-line in the middle.

Traditionally, the route starts on the North Little Rock side of the Big Dam Bridge at Cooks Landing Park.  After crossing the bridge the runners would turn around at Murray Park to finish where they began.  However, this year would be different.  Instead of turning around at Murray Park, the route would use the southwest ramp and head toward Two Rivers Park.  It wasn’t the first event to use the southwest ramp, as the Big Dam Bridge 100 used it in late September, but it would be the first footrace to utilize it.

The Halfway Point.
The Halfway Point.

I had the important job of making sure every runner made the turnaround.  Well, I thought it was important.  When I saw the first runner I pondered where everyone else was.  Did the fog take them?  The front-runner came and then proceeded to escape into the fog never to be seen again…by me that is.  I’m sure he made it to the finish line.  More runners came bringing smiles.  I soon realized the “You are my favorite person” remarks and looks of elation had nothing to do with me.  They were thrilled they were at the turnaround.

The view from the turnaround:

I couldn’t blame them.  The fog was thick and a runner compared it running through a tunnel while on the bridge.  I wonder what he thought when rain decided to make a guest appearance?  Did he sing B.J. Thomas’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head?”  That’s what I was humming.

Wet approach to the Jimerson Creek footbridge
Wet approach to the Jimerson Creek footbridge

The rain came down, but the runners were undeterred.  I can assure you no one melted.  Once the last runner made the turnaround, I started wading through the water back to the start.  I witnessed some of the awards ceremony with the race director, Bill Torrey, announcing the winners, as we all took shelter under the pavilion.  After the race many were hesitant to brave the rain en route to their vehicles, but they’d just run a few miles in the downpour.  Runners are weird like that.

All Sports Productions - Legend Highlands

In case you missed it, the Arkansas Running Klub will be out there again for the final two races in the Winter Series.  If you’re waiting on the Grand Prix, you still have a few weeks before the One Hour Track Run that will be at Danville High School Track this year.  One can get a glimpse of the track if they do the No Name 5k on Saturday, January 19, 2013, which is also in Danville.  Let’s hope there is no precipitation.

The Face of Volunteering
The Face of Volunteering

When I’m not running, volunteering, or writing, you can usually find me lurking on Twitter @absolut_zer0 or blogging at ICEdot Athletes.

The Community Bicyclist
See also  James Gaston's Daring Descent

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