After the relative quiet of the fifth mile of the race, Mile 6 will force you to restart the engines.
You’ll know it’s coming because just before you turn toward the hill, you’ll hear the sweet sounds of Milam Albright playing rock n’ roll & country tunes in front of Mark Oubre’s State Farm office (thanks to Mark for donating the power!). Milam plays all over the Texarkana area. Check out our list of entertainers on the Race Info page for more information on him. If you ran in 2013, Milam played top pop and rock tunes along the Nix Creek Trail (the same spot where Shelby Irving is today). We’re VERY excited Milam is back this year….helping you pump up around the biggest hill on the course.
Turning the corner onto Arkansas Boulevard and west toward the Texas state line, you’ll see “the hill.” Haven’t heard of “the hill”?
Let me tell you the story of the hill: this hill has broken people, leaving them in agony and begging—
As far as hills go, this one may be the biggest on the course, but I assure you, you’ve run longer, harder hills….and after the race, nobody talks about this hill as the one that was the killer….the little ups and downs in the 2nd half of the race are the ones that get your quads burning.
Here’s the deal:
The hill is nearly a half mile long, gradually sloping until you reach Walmart at the top. However, it’s so gradual that you’ll easily crest it and forget that you did within minutes. To make it even better, last year many spectators were kind enough to cheer on runners as we trudged up the hill. This year, we have some crazy signs to help as well. Both of these will only make a fairly easy hill even easier.
Once you reach the top, you’ll see Walmart on the right as the road levels again. As you approach State Line Boulevard, you’ll encounter volunteers ushering cars in and out of the Walmart parking lot and police officer’s directing traffic. Be sure and thank them as you run by—as I mentioned before, it takes an army of volunteers to put on this race! Because of the heavy traffic in this area, these are some of our craziest volunteers who signed up for some serious crowd control.
During this mile a few years ago, I first encountered one of the many bike riders helping out along the course. A nice woman rode next to me for about 400 yards, talking me up the end of the hill and toward State Line. I’d never encountered this during a race before, and it was a nice break from the solitude of my iPod. I’m sure runners would have talked to me if I’d tried, because everyone I was running with seemed so nice, but this woman went out of her way to smile and talk me through the mile before biking ahead to help other runners.
I tried to convince her to let me hop on her bike, but apparently that wouldn’t have been “fair” to the other runners…..
Every year I ran our race, I missed the Welcome To Texas sign! Look for it just after you pass Walmart on the right hand side….the very next light (a BIG intersection with State Line Road), you’ll see the sign on your right.
THEN you’ll also see the sign showing that you’ve completed Mile 6 a block past State Line Road. Not only have you finished six miles, but you’ve also completed the Arkansas part of the race!
Welcome to Texas!
You’ll only spend a few more moments running in Arkansas at the very end of the race when you cross the finish line in front of Hopkins Ice House, which is now only a mere 7.1 miles away.
You’ve now crossed “The Line.”
In a few more miles you’ll Run the Line.