Star City is a small Arkansas town of about 2500 residents that lies at the border between the Timberland and Delta regions. This unique position allows visitors to enjoy the timbered lake with a marked kayak trail and abundant fishing as well as beautiful woodland trails like the 15.5 mile Cane Creek Lake Trail. For the second year, the park has hosted a winter no frills fun run that allows runners to choose between a 5K, 10K or 25K route with an entry fee of $5.00, regardless of distance.
The 5 and 10K routes utilize parts of the Cane Creek Lake Trail and the 2.4 mile Delta View Trail. The smooth surface, with few rocks, makes this a family friendly run and a few young ones battled it out on the trail leaving grown ups in their wake.
The 25K route uses all 15.5 miles of the Cane Creek Lake Trail, beginning with a couple of miles switching between pavement and singletrack before turning on to the flat soft 5 miles of grassy levee along the lake. As I set off with a small group of runners doing the full 25K, I knew I was not at 100% and would be taking it easy, hoping there would be others taking the easier pace with me.
Luckily that proved true, myself and my frequent running companion Leisa and our friend Melissa kept the group ahead of us within sight all along the levy, after we entered the singletrack again we wouldn’t see the larger group again until we finished. In the meantime the three of us enjoyed the occasional elevation change on the singletrack which was a welcomed change after the flat of the levy. The three suspension bridges on the 25K route gave everyone plenty of chances to try to bounce themselves or the person behind them up in the air.
The run is small, 64 people across all the distance routes, but the impact for the park and the community is not small. Many of the runners had not been to the park before; a few were back because they had come the year before and they encouraged their friends to run too. The mountain bikers in the group started making plans for a ride on another day so the park gains people willing to come back and to bring friends along. While many of our group that traveled from Little Rock stuck around the park well after the last of us finished running, the park staff including Superintendent Redding also stuck around to talk about the park and ways to improve the run next year. The community benefits along with the park. Our group of 17 left the park hungry and ready for a good meal. We went to the Country Village BBQ, just one of the restaurants in a collection of shops and eateries in a village setting that also includes a bakery, a taxidermist, a leather shop and a pet shop. The staff was accommodating and kind to a large group of loud, hungry, and still slightly sweaty runners. Before leaving we visited the bakery where some bought home baked cookies and we purchase a cinnamon roll bread pudding.
Like most days, it wasn’t about the race; not only because I’m slow and “race” is a term I don’t use often, but because the company of great friends is what the day is about. Friends and bread pudding that is.
More photos later today on our Facebook Page.