More than 1,700 people will descend on downtown Hot Springs on November 12 as the Spa Running Festival celebrates the 41st year of the 10K becoming the event it is today.
The 5K, 10K and Summit2Summit half marathons all sold out more than a month before the race date, marking the first full three races since the advent of the Spa Running Festival in 2015, the half marathon’s first year . The half marathon sold out on October 10, and the 5K and 10K sold out a week before.
“In 2019, all the races sold out,” said Cindy Baswell, the race festival organizer.
“Of course, 2020 was COVID, and even that year the race was sold out,” she said. “We changed it and got lower numbers but it still sold out before race day. And then last year the 5K, 10K sold out probably about two weeks before the event . Half didn’t sell last year.”
Last year, the Little Rock Marathon moved to the week after the Spa Running Festival after a spike in COVID-19 infections in January left organizers postponing the March race.
“This is just going to show you how the Little Rock Marathon impacted our admission last year because they had to reschedule their race to the week after ours due to COVID last year,” he said. she declared.
“So last year we got to, I think, about 140 for half, and we had a cap of 500. And so this year, not competing with Little Rock, it sold out four weeks before the event. … So yeah, that’s really the first one he sold.”
In addition to the 5k, 10k, and half marathon, there’s the Spa Squirt run which ranges from two-tenths to half a mile for kids ages 2 to 10. Baswell said there were 18 spots left of the 200 available for this race. from Wednesday noon, and children will be able to register for the exhibition on November 11 up to the ceiling of 200 participants.
Baswell said the reach of this year’s race has also extended further than ever before.
“We hit 32 states this year,” she said.
“It’s the biggest; usually we hit about 25 to 26. … Our top seven (outside Arkansas) are Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois, and then, you know, go as far east as New York, California, Florida, all the way to Oregon, and everything else.
“So, you know, it’s exciting for our community that so many people from out of state can come and not only run our race, but also see what our beautiful city has to offer,” Baswell said. . “We’re just starting to show off the great city we have to all of our running friends from across the community.”
The Spa Running Festival Expo will be held in Exhibit Hall B of the Hot Springs Convention Center from noon to 7 p.m. on November 11. The exhibition will be shared by the Gudrun Northwoods MTB Festival, which takes place the same weekend.
“It’s open to the public, and some of our vendors are our sponsors,” Baswell said, noting that around 20 vendors will be there for the current festival. “It gives them the opportunity, as part of some sponsorship packages, to get a free stand at the exhibition. So some of them will be our sponsors, and that’s just another way for them to be exhibits and for us to say thank you for being a sponsor.”
RunStop is the exhibit sponsor and will have a booth near the front of the hall. Other providers include Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, CHI St. Vincent, and Spa City Therapy.
“I can’t stress enough how much appreciation we have for our sponsors,” she said, noting that entry prices did not increase in October due to sponsors. “We have an incredible group of businesses and organizations who are sponsors – both monetary and in-kind services.”
As always, after the race, runners will be able to grab a hot meal, and in addition to the standard fare, there will be burgers – beef and plant-based – for participants.
“We have Capo’s Tacos hot soup,” Baswell said, and the festival would provide pizza.
“The Purple Cow provides chili. Sam’s Club provides all the snacks we will distribute,” she said. “We have, of course, the Michelob beer tent which is completely free from Arkansas Beverage, but the new thing we’re adding this year – and we’re really excited about it – is our grill tent. So we’ll be grilling burgers for the participants in the race because we have promised ourselves that we will not run out of food this year.”
The race could not have taken place without the help of more than 150 volunteers, Baswell said.
“We encourage anyone who wants to run to run because we want them to enjoy the experience of being involved in the Spa Running Festival,” she said. “But we have to have volunteers at the expo all day.
“It takes a lot of people. The race day package pick-up, the finish line area, the food court. We have six aid stations and then the people watching the course. It’s so important because they’re strategically placed on the courses to keep runners in the right direction, or whether they have to turn here or move forward or get into the right lane for traffic control and all that,” a- she declared.