The Chase Race and Paws gives everyone a chance to run with the pack, whether the pack is the fastest runners in Arkansas, friends, family, or furry four legged friends. The Chase Race has been an annual event since 2006 when Don and Cheryl Potter organized the event in memory of their son, Donald Lee Chase Potter who passed at the young age of 13 from a traumatic brain injury. The race continues to grow in popularity and this year exceeded their previous record of 560 participants. The race is also the 2014 State Championship 2 Mile Race for the Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix running series which brought some of the fastest runners in the state to run around Simon Park in the heart of downtown Conway on a cool spring Saturday morning.
The course records are held by Wojciel Kopec (9:41) and Leah Thorvilson (10.42). This year the top male finisher was Lance Beckman of Conway (10:16:95) and the top female finisher was Jenny Paul of Little Rock (12:40:00). Results for the entire field of 452 finishers can be found here.
The race proceeds benefit the Arkansas Children’s Hospital for traumatic brain injury research and the Friends of Conway Animal Shelter. Because young Chase was a lover of animals, his legacy lives on in the Paws 1 Mile race where pet owners can run with their furry friends or, as was the case of one very special raccoon, owners can push their pets in strollers. I was curious about the cute masked furball that was being carried by his surrogate mother around the park while we were waiting for the races to begin. It seems her children found the baby coon in their yard one night, unable to move. He can’t walk on his own but has been a valuable member of their family ever since.
I decided to give the Paws race a try with our own rescue dog who is a strong, fast, 65lb bundle of energy and muscle. I knew she would probably pull me the entire mile. I tried my best to keep up with her but several times during the few minutes of our one mile, she turned her head to either look at me as if to say “COME ON MOM!” or to grab the leash with her mouth and tug, spurring me on. We crossed the finish line at 8:29 with her still tugging at me where we received a finisher’s ribbon and a 12th Place Female trophy! The results for all the Paws runners is here.
After the Paws 1 Miler, a pet costume contest is held on the park stage. In addition to a lot of sweet dogs dressed as everything from the entire cast of the Wizard of Oz to a giant martini glass complete with olives, a family brought their cute vietnamese potbellied pig out for the parade across the stage.
With the continued growth and popularity of Chase’s Race, Chase’s legacy will contribute to the research at ACH and will support the Friends of Conway Animal Shelter, where boys and girls of all ages can find companion animals to bring the kind of joy that animals brought to Chase’s life.
We’ve already posted about 1000 photos from the event on our Facebook Page, please share, download, comment, tag, like, etc.