Race to Remember can be considered the race to officially kick off the summer running season. That statement alone could be a deterrent for a potential participant. The middle of June is always going to be hot and muggy. It may not sound like ideal conditions, but for the past two years people have shown support for the beneficiary of the race, Mamies Poppy Plates. The non-profit organization provides keepsake plates, at no charge, to families who suffer stillbirth or infant death. Race to Remember is a celebration of the anniversary of the organization and birthday party for Mamie.
The second annual race moved from Two Rivers Park to Dickey Stephen’s Park. The new location added better parking and provided covering from last year’s blazing sun. Little did the organizers the covering would come in handy on race day for more than the sun. With the move, a new course had to be created. Race Director Bill Torrey designed a course that hugged the banks of the Arkansas River and made use of the Arkansas River Trail.
A few hours before the start of the race the sky opened and rain poured down throughout Little Rock. As long as no lightning was present, I knew the race wouldn’t be cancelled. I viewed the rain as a symbol of all the tears shed for those that lost their children. Just as the tears eventually stopped, so did the rain. Ordinarily rain causes the humidity to rise, but not on this day. The rain dropped the temperature making the conditions more than manageable.
Another change was chip timing. The race organizers enlisted the services of Mac’s Race Timing. No more tearing of bibs like last year. Chip timing made the finish line smooth and efficient. Taking a page out of Race for the Cure’s book, only those that wanted to be timed received chips.
Wes Wolfenbarger (19:39.67) crossed the finish line first. Gus McCoy (19:42.57) was next and Matt Kaczor (20:00.37) finished third with his kids running with him at the end.
Kristen Saffa (21:21.05) claimed her first 5k victory. Jana Edwards (21:32.46) and
Lauren Campbell (21:32.92) battled it out for second and third place. Had Campbell ran as fast as she did at the Riverfest Rock-n-Stroll 5k where she also placed third, she would’ve won this race.
A few people ran two races Saturday. That’s one of the benefits to a race starting at 6 p.m. John Harrison placed first in his age group in both races while Richard Vaughn won the wheelchair division in both. I had seen him at races before, but didn’t know his story until I talked to him after the race. I found out more about him after visiting his website. He is an inspiring guy.
The changes were well received by many. Post-race refreshments were a major hit. It consisted of nachos, hot dogs, Yarnell’s ice cream, cake balls, beer, etc. I’m sure no one left hungry or thirsty. If so, it was a personal choice.
Lot’s of photos available to share, download, tag and pass around on our Facebook Page.