Each year the weeks leading up to Race the Base tend to be hard on my heart. I get anxious, there is a seemingly continuous revolution of reasons to freak out. There’s the email about something that is not quite right with the shirts that pops up right in the middle of an out of state trip. There are arrangements with vendors, racers, and volunteers to be made. The day before the race there are marks to be put out, trails to clear, still more last minute arrangements to make and race packets to be picked up. The day before is also when the calls and emails start from those last minute registrants. About 7 pm Friday before the race, my heart is racing, the run is filling up and I start to worry- do I have enough shirts, will I have enough volunteers, will we have enough food and reasons for folks to stick around till the kids race is over? The palpitations continued when, just as I sat down to have dinner with a few people who volunteered hours to help me with packet pick up, the phone call came- “Lisa there’s a problem with the bib assignments.” said Ken McSpadden, our intrepid timing specialist. I walked back to my car in front of Go!Running to piggyback their wifi and logged in to the race sign up software to find the problem. Luckily it was fixed within minutes so I could return to my cashew chicken, tsing tao, and friends.
The morning arrived clear and cold; there was ice on the tables in the field. We set up registration tables and had a few moments of peace before the cars started arriving, one after another. My heart rate jumped again in preparation for the barrage of people coming our way. But, I had the most capable and fantastic volunteers. I was free to talk to runners about other things, to handle questions and talk to volunteers that would be working stations other than registration. The heart rate came down. It was all working out. I picked up the cheap bullhorn I’ve used for the past 3 years at the race and walked to the starting line. I started to talk and could tell I wasn’t being heard. There goes the heart again…I have people here to lead a warm up and I need to give last minute directions and how is this going to work if this huge group of people can’t hear me? Luckily Brian and Leah from OrangeTheory Fitness just rolled with it and did what they could. My heart needed a break. I turned the start over to Park Superintendent Ron Salley, who just happened to have a better bullhorn. As runners took off for their lap around Stuckey Field, I jumped, I cheered, I screamed, I high fived till my heart was pumping. This is usually the point of the day when everything goes calm and my heart gets to rest. This year, with a record number of runners and more people involved in the finish line after party than ever before, there was no time to relax. Or so I thought. I walked over to the finish line to find everyone involved set up and ready to go well ahead of schedule. Arkansas Craft Distributors was there with a bar and taps ready to serve thirsty runners a cup of well earned Oskar Blues Beer. Bill Dobbins had goodies from Tie Dyed Trail Grub and Race Catering for everyone who needed hearty sustenance. We also had all the normal post run bananas, oranges, cookies and donuts from Partners for Pinnacle and OrangeTheory Fitness was ready to talk to runners about fitness goals and how to work off those donuts. Volunteers from title sponsor Bear State Bank were ready at the finish line to cut off chips and were also walking behind the runners to clean up the course so we would leave no evidence for the other users of the park by the time the race was over. I could relax. That ended when Ken yelled to me from his timing truck “First runners are coming in!” It was time to run, jump, cheer, hug, high five and yell till my voice was raw. I was thankful to be able to walk over to ask volunteer Christine Meroney for a half pour of tasty Dale’s Pale Ale to soothe my sore throat before going back to cheer and yell for the 170 runners coming down that finish chute. I may not have gotten to run with you, but I thank you for the heart pumping good time!
For the first time in three years, I was able to be at the start of the Kids Kingfisher 1/2 Mile Run. That’s always a different kind of heart pump, more of a swelling, to see all their smiling faces as they sprint after each other at the start. There are always at least a few that have game face on. I hope all the parents and kids who got to run had a great time.
I especially enjoyed congratulating all the first time trail runners. Next year is this Fifth Annual Race the Base. We invite you to run more trail during the next year. Visit our friends at the Go!bbler Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving, Mt Nebo Bench Trail 4 Mile Race next month, take your mileage to new levels with David’s Endurance Run 7K/25K/40K or Village Creek 10K/25K We hope to see all our repeat runners and all our first timers back next year. Watch Arkansas Outside for a date announcement soon.
Once again a big THANK YOU goes out to Bear State Bank, the Big Dam Bridge Foundation, Go!Running, OrangeTheory Fitness and Arkansas Craft Distributors. I’d like to personally thank those who volunteered they’re time and energy:
To Bear State Bank, thank you for supporting this race as our title sponsor. Thanks volunteers and Molly DeBusk, thank you for all your help. You can thank them here.
Tell Leah and crew you appreciate them on their facebook page. Better yet, go in and try a workout.
David and Jeremy from Arkansas Craft Distributors for tirelessly serving thirsty trail runners. I think I can speak for everyone who partook in saying you were greatly appreciated. You can tell them by liking their facebook page and telling them so.
For the running store who has been with us from the beginning, thank you Go!Running!
To my LRH3: I love you all. I couldn’t have done it without you. Tina, Skip, Christine and David, Jeff, Cassandra, and Nathan.
Thank you Kelly Journey and James Morgan for flinging water cups and I’m sure cheering at the aid station.
Partners for Pinnacle members Dan Lien, Lisa Smith and Molly DeBusk , thank you for all you did to make this race happen
Thank you Ron Salley, Molly Elders and the Pinnacle Mountain State Park staff for all your assistance on race day.
A huge thank you needs to go to Bill Toland of the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists. Bill blew the leaves off the entire race course after the torrential rains the week before the race. He does this for us every year and we are incredibly grateful
If you got a rock, thank Rodney Bailey and his art students at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet who volunteered to do the artwork on the trophies.
Finisher certificates (this is pretty cool)
Photos from the race will be uploaded to the Arkansas Outside Facebook Page this afternoon.
Also, finish line video available from Mac’s Race Timing:
from 27:56 – 45:33
from 45:33 – 1:03.16
from 1:03.16 – 1:25.10