On March 6th I ran the Little Rock, AR marathon and crossed off State #22 and Marathon #31 on my quest to run a marathon in every state and on every continent in order to bring attention to and raise money for 5 vital Alexandria-based charities serving the at-risk in our community. Spring had begun in Little Rock; the Redbuds had begun to bloom and the daffodils were up.
the starting line
a lululemon athletica and
Running marathons in all
7 Continents, each of the 50 States, and the 5 World Marathon Majors
(a marathon a month)
Distressed for my struggling neighbors, I decided to do something. And so I did... As a long-time marathoner who was tired of running solely for time, I 'laced up my shoes' and committed to running the world on their behalf. To raise awareness and funds for 5 key charities that serve them:
Child and Family Network Centers
The Reading Connection
Girls on the Run, NoVA
Supporting the Community
(Donating 1K a year for the next 5 years to The RunningBrooke Fund.)
Always 100% tax deductible and always, 100% of your donation goes to those who need it.
(I pay my own travel costs and associated fees.)
Arkansas, Native American for "south wind," and nicknamed The Natural State, has over 600,000 acres of lakes, 9,700 miles of streams and rivers and over 2.6 million acres of national forests.
Factoid. Our nation's oldest national park (Hot Springs) is in Arkansas.
It is a place with stories; tales of Native Americans, Pioneers, Civil War battles, oil and diamonds, Blues and Mountain music. The home state of former President Bill Clinton but also the land of historic Civil Rights struggles:
The Trail of Tears -- forced relocation of south-eastern Native Americans made to walk from their homeland westward (across the entire state of Arkansas) on their way to "Indian Territory" in Oklahoma.
The Internment Camps -- involuntary relocation of Japanese-Americans from across the US during WWII. Two sites, now memorials, are in Arkansas .
The Little Rock Nine -- escorted by the military, nine African-Americans enroll at Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
And so without further ado:
The Marathon. 1,814 marathoners (plus 1/2 marathons and 1st-leg re-layers) lined up for the 8AM race start. It was a perfect day. Overcast with a starting temperature in the mid-thirties. 'Music Belt' Ken (remember him from Jackson and New Orleans?) and I stayed warm in the Peabody lobby (yup, mallards in that fountain too) until 7:45; walked to the race start, corralled up and went. The course took us past the Clinton Library, through the city and by the capital, before leading us out into the suburbs. This is where the race got even better. We ran past Little Rock Central High School (combo of Art Deco and Gothic and massive in size), past the Governor's Mansion (Governor and staff out front waving to us!) and finished the last 6 miles along the Arkansas River. Double-thumbs-up to the Race Director for a great tour!
The Marathon. This isn't a typo. I felt so obnoxiously good during the race that I probably bothered other runners. Came in 8 minutes faster than New Orleans (easier course) and BQ'd (Boston Qualified) under the new, faster time limits. What did I do differently between these two races that I hadn't done before? I worked on my flexibility. Check out this video (painfully unedited, sorry).
Phil Wharton talks to The RunningBrooke Racers
The Marathon's Finisher's Medal. It's the reason I decided to run this race (should I admit this?)
5'' x 8'' with complete with spinning globe
The Clinton Presidential Library. Located along the Arkansas River in the heart of the River Market District, this library is a must see. It's packed with the largest collection of presidential papers and artifacts in U.S. history, and houses authentic replicas of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. I took Bill's narrated tour chronicling American history during his presidency.
The Historic Arkansas Museum. Two hundred years of Arkansan paintings, furniture, silver, textiles and firearms.
No Direct Flights. There is no way to get from National to Little Rock without changing planes. I had to fly by way of Chicago out, and Atlanta back.
lululemon athletica. The lululemon community (I am an ambassador) is suffering greatly. At the Bethesda store last Friday night, two educators (employees) were violently assaulted during a robbery attempt. One lost her life. Please keep them in your thoughts.
*New to the marathon schedule, another double!
National Marathon (Washington, DC) on Saturday, March 26th. The RunningBrooke Racers, team #1, have been training and raising money for The RunningBrooke Fund. Super-excited to be a helping them reach their running goal and having their help in making a difference. *I'll have a booth at the National Expo (Armory, Fri. 3/25). Stop by and say hello!
The Ocean Drive Marathon (over 4 bridges finishing in Cape May) on Sunday, March 27th. Knocking off another state and seeing some friends too.
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (Washington DC) on Sunday, April 3rd. RunningBrooke Racers, team #2, will challenge themselves in this fun and fast course by the monuments and under the cherry blossoms. Keep up the good work and thanks for your help!
Big Bash planned for June. Stay tuned...
Spring is here and it's an exciting time for runners. One of my Sponsors, Pacer Events, puts on some great local races. Fresh, Exciting, Innovative. Take a LOOK, see what fits into your schedule and get out there!