Preview Run the Line!
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
If it's your first year at Run the Line, you've probably heard to points: the race runs in two states and we have a massive post-race party.
Both are true!
The Run the Line race is happy to have, for the 2nd year, Texarkana’s own Kosmic Girlz & Koltrane Band performing at the celebration. Last year the band was featured on television shows, opened for Travis Tritt, and played many incredible events. This was a good opportunity to ask the band what's been going on since then:
You're always so busy! Can you give our readers a little taste of what's going on in the Kosmic Girlz universe?
We lost our Grandmother in December 2012 after battling cancer for 2 years. This has been a rough time.
But we are SO excited about the new music we've written. We are producing a new album that will be available soon.
In addition to the band, our Keyz 4 Kidz Music School has grown tremendously. We have developed an extension to Keyz 4 Kidz Music School that allows us to offer piano lessons in daycares.
2) Is it tough juggling school and all the performance duties? How do you do it?
Like running, you have to be disciplined and motivated. Music has been a part of our life since we were introduced to the piano at 3 years old. Our parents help keep us focused. Having their support makes it all happen.
3) If you could perform one show (besides Run the Line, of course!), what would it be?
We absolutely love Run the Line!! But like most, we dream big...Madison Square Gardens is in our sights.
4) For people running Run the Line for the first year, what kind of tunes should they expect at the finish line?
We have a great line up from Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson to the band Fun.
5) Everyone asks about their favorite songs….what are the band members favorite songs right now?
Krystal's favorite is one of our original "Hourglass" written for our Grandmother just months before she lost her battle to cancer.
Klaira's favorite: "Heartbreak" by Hunter Hayes.
Katie's favorite: "Kick it in the sticks" by Brantley Gilbert
Colton loves all music! He really doesn't have one favorite.
How do people get in touch with you to book the band if they'd like you at their event?
www.kosmicgirlz.com or call 903-244-7070
Thanks for entertaining our runners! We’ll see you at the finish line!
Want to know more about the Kosmic Girlz & Koltrane Band?
Here’s their bio:
The "Kosmic Girlz" was born in September of 2009, when three talented sisters came together to form Texarkana's first all girl cover band.
The Girls, Krystal, Klaira, and Katie McDowell, began their musical journey early in life. By the age of three, each sister had already been introduced to an instrument and become actively involved in private lessons. The idea to play together just seemed to be their next step as each girl developed an interest in different instruments. Krystal is a natural on the piano, while Katie loves to jam out on her bass guitar allowing the middle sister, Klaira, to take center stage as lead vocalist.
The girls sat down and within ten minutes came up with their stage name, "Kosmic Girlz". There was never another name even considered. Changing the C in cosmic to a K, was a clever way to reflect the first letter in each sister's name. I felt the name was a perfect fit. This just sums up the talent in each of my girls.
We couldn't be more proud of our girls achievements, individually, and as a group. Parenting four daughters is no easy feat for us. We are both successful business owners and while dividing time between work and family is the norm these days, we consider ourselves blessed to have the support of my mother, Sue. She has been consistent in the girls lives from full time care giver to part time chauffeur, the list of this grandmother's titles are endless.
Krystal, 15, is known as the quiet one, but do not be fooled by her shyness, she is the leader of the group at home and on the road. At an early age, she could be found sitting in front on the piano tapping out imaginary compositions. Her ability to read sheet music influenced her role in the band. She can fluently play the piano, guitar, trumpet, violin, and bass guitar. She truly is amazing behind the ivory keys!
Klaira, 13, could easily be described as 13 going on 30. She has an air of confidence about her that manages to shine through both on and off the stage. Gifted with a beautiful voice, she provides the soul behind the music. Her love of singing combined with her love of life is illuminated every time she steps foot on stage. Klaira has been described as a "Natural Born Entertainer"!
As the baby of the family, Katie, 11, has spent most of her life in her sister's shadows, even when it came to her musical training. You will quickly learn that she is not destined to stay in the shadows for long! Her sweet smile coupled with that mysterious twinkle in her young eyes, tells a very different tale. Katie marches to the beat of her own drummer. She is an original!
Last Updated (Saturday, 16 February 2013 17:22)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
A short story—my spouse, Cheryl, ran her first marathon in Detroit, Michigan. Like Run the Line, it’s known for running in two different locales during a single race (the Detroit Marathon runs through a tunnel under the Detroit River and into Canada for awhile). She said that she reached the “26 MILE” sign and felt this huge sense of elation—until she realized that it’s 26 "POINT TWO" miles. She said that the "POINT TWO" made her cry.
That shouldn’t be the case with the POINT ONE after your big 13 miles at the conclusion of Run the Line.
Once you reach the 13 Mile marker, you’ll be just around the corner from the finishing stretch. When I say “just around the corner,” I’m being literal. If you don’t see the finish when you see the marker, count to three.
Our master of ceremonies, Mike Jones, will goad you home the last several yards. Mike is known for his witty commentary and hosts many of the local events around Texarkana. We’re happy he’s able to help with our race, along with all the other volunteers who make it possible.
Once you finish, a volunteer will place a medal around your neck. The design has the flags of Arkansas and Texas, and is one of the prized medals in my collection.
At 9:34 AM the Kosmic Girlz and Koltrane band will fire up some tunes, so you may even hear the finish coming before you see it. They'll play until 11, and our awards will be 15 minutes later. You'll love the awards. We try to offer many and to make them a little different than any other race you've attended. Of course, we're happy there isn't much that ISN'T different than other races you've attended.
You’ll end in front of Hopkins Ice House, our finish line location hosts. Just outside, you’ll find some great food, prepared for and provided by Bryces Cafeteria, Johnny Carino’s, and Roger & Debbie Sheppard. A quick story about Roger & Debbie. They own Sports Magic, who provides our tee-shirts. As a way to give to the community, they offer all the grilled portions and they prepare them. There are so many of these stories that I wish I could tell all of them!
Back to the preview….. there will be soft drinks and water for everyone, beer for those over 21, and lots of runners trading war stories outside Hopkins Ice House. There'll be plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy what appears is going to be some very nice weather.
And that’s our race preview! I hope you enjoyed it. Good luck with the race. I’ll see you at the starting line! I’ll be the middle aged guy standing next to the announcer, Mike Jones, looking worried (I'm sure...).....
Next week I’ll have a long list of “thank you’s” plus race results, so be sure and check back after you run!
Last Updated (Saturday, 16 February 2013 14:29)
"We take an individual sport and turn it into a team effort" - Interview with Dave Wilkinson and Jacob Wells
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
Every runner knows it takes a team to help the athlete finish 13.1 miles. Between course volunteers, loving family and friends cheering you on, every runner depends on a huge support network.
No two runners in our race may depend on each other more than Dave Wilkinson and Jacob Wells.
These two have run side by side for seven years. Dave Wilkinson is visually impaired so Jacob Wells runs with him. They're a running force on any road or trail; they complete half marathon courses faster than most of the field. They’ve qualified for and ran in the Boston Marathon.
We were able to ask Dave and Jacob a few questions about their unique experience Running the Line:
How long have you been runners?
Dave - I used to cross country ski out West. I started running on treadmills when I didn't have someone to ski with. This was around 2000. I moved to Little Rock in 2003 and by then was hooked on the endorphins. There was no snow here, so I bought a beast of a treadmill for my house and just kept going.
Jacob - I have been running since 2000. We first ran together in August 2006. We met at the starting line of our first 5K and ran 23:35. Afterwards, Dave tells me he hadn’t run outside (i.e. other than on a treadmill) in 20 years. We decided on the spot to run the 2007 Little Rock Marathon, which we did, finishing in 3:35.
How did you start running together?
Dave - River 5k for Easter Seals. I had expressed an interest in running the race and he had contacted Easter Seals about pushing a child in a wheelchair for the race.
That didn't work out so he got me.
It was my first running race since doing a few races (maybe 5) in high school in the early'80s.
Jacob - I called Easter Seals to ask if I could push one of their child clients in a racing stroller in their race. They weren’t able to accommodate but said they had a blind employee that wanted to run the race. Dave went out to the garage and cut himself a piece of string for us to use as a tether. They put us in touch and we met at the starting line.
We hit our stride immediately and finished without incident until the finish line, when I threw my hands up in triumph, letting go of our rope, and sending Dave crashing through all the finish line ropes and barricades, which barely slowed him down.
Dave then won the 5th race he even ran, with me a close 2nd. It helped that it was 35 degrees and raining, so few showed up. In the running club newsletter, an uninformed race results columnist said that “it must have been quite a photo finish.” I usually let Dave win by a second.
Dave, are you able to see part of the course as Jacob guides? How do the two of you communicate about obstacles?
Dave - I see virtually nothing, and what I do see is confusing I can see if a light is on and I can see if something (a blob) is really close by. I can see a stripe going down a road which helps. I have no depth perception so curbs, grass, or sudden changes in the shade of concrete can all look the same.
As for communicating, Jacob gives a verbal lay of the land as we're about to turn, go up or down hills, over gravel, or whatever. My job is to trust what he says regardless of how it may look to me.
Jacob - I tell Dave the turns and terrain. We are both pretty good at geometry, which helps as long as I don’t get my right and left mixed up. The tether acts as a rudder in addition to safety. The tiny amount of sight Dave has is out of the corner of his left eye, so I always run on his left. With his minimal sight, the tether, and my verbal instructions, it’s easy. Someone came up to me at the water fountain and asked me if I had to take a class to know how to do it. After a thousand miles of practice, we could probably do it telepathically.
You had a great finishing time last year. How did that compare to your normal times?
Dave - I missed a half marathon PR by 9 seconds last year. Will have to try to remedy that this year.
If Jacob was running this on his own, he would knock 15 minutes off his time. When we started this I believed that two equal runners made for a good team. It turns out that the guide needs to be a better runner so he can still be moderately coherent at the end of the race.
Jacob - Dave has done at least three half marathons with other guides, but I don’t recall us doing one together. We have finished in the top 10% of the Little Rock Marathon both times we have run it together. In our prime, we had our 5K best time down to 20:47, which I couldn’t do by myself on a moped now. We did our first one mile race in 2012 and ran 6:37. We can go sub 6 minutes this year.
You're both running the Little Rock Marathon in a couple weeks. Any other marathons you especially like?
Dave - Jacob is Marathon Boy! He's run over 130 and counting. Little Rock will be my tenth - my sixth being guided by Jacob. We get to run Boston in April which is a real privilege!
Jacob – The LRM is the pinnacle for us. It was my first marathon in 2003 and our first in 2007. It is such a stage because it is the home course with all our friends and family.
We have also run the Boston, Memphis and Springfield Marathons together. Dave has run other marathons with other guides and the 2013 LRM will be his 10th and our 6th. The LRM will be marathon number 134 for me.
What was your favorite part of Run the Line last year?
Dave - My favorite part of Run The Line is constantly switching states.
When I was a little kid, we would go see cousins and grand parents in Fort Worth, and Texarkana meant lunch time. It was a big deal which state we would decide to eat in. Now, during the race, I have no idea most of the time what state I'm in.
I travel a lot for work, and mostly know where I am by what it says on the calendar. I'm writing this in an airport. I'll be in Tulsa and Kansas City before the day is over. This race, with the state line, is kind of representative of my life.
Jacob - The finish line sprint down Stateline Avenue in the middle of the street is quite a thrill with a blind man on a leash. The course is one of the best and safest for us. The only ones as safe are the marathons that are completely closed to traffic. We had no problems other than the bizarre culvert-type ditch that we navigated at full speed.
My favorite part, as usual, was the positive attention we garnered for what to Dave, is completely normal and unimpressive to him. Our photo was put on Facebook and the comments people made are very special. Dave’s goal is not to inspire anyone, but if it happens, that’s a good thing.
My favorite comment was by a teenager who was cheering with her friends and, after the race, told her mom all about us, and then her mom saw the photo. Some commented about how gracious I was sacrificing my race to guide Dave, when the fact is that I never give up anything to run with Dave – we run as a team and motivate each other. We take an individual sport and turn it into a team effort. Running is one of the few gifts that you can give away and still have it.
Last Updated (Friday, 15 February 2013 16:32)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
YOU’VE COME THIS FAR without stopping, and now there’s only a mile to go.
You’ve already done 12 of these….what’s one more? I saw a great bumper sticker while running my first marathon last January. It said, “26.2 miles, what can go wrong?” That might be the inspiration for this year's tee-shirt slogan "Only Half Crazy."
No matter how you feel at this point, I’ll share with you, nothing can stop you with only one more mile left! Luckily, it’s a fun mile, too.
Just after the 12 Mile Marker, you’ll take a right and head again toward downtown. Now you’re on Hazel Street, angling toward State Line. Here you’ll encounter our “bring it home” water . You'll be reminded again of the spirit these volunteers bring to the race. It's pretty incredible that over 100 volunteers take time off to make this. There's about 1 volunteer for every 6.5 runners. This is the last water stop, so drink fast, because you’re going to want to savor the next site….I know four years ago–my first Run the Line–I did. Just past the water station you’ll merge onto State Line Road.
You did it. You’ve toured the Arkansas side, the Texas side, and now you’re Running the Line.
Ahead of you is the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office, the only facility of its kind in the world. There are over 20 city, county, and state law and judicial agencies for Arkansas and Texas. As you’d expect, the building is divided in half, with those on the right (west) side housing Texas agencies and those on the left (east) holding Arkansas offices. That’s all neat trivia, but for you, it means that you’ve arrived again downtown and you’re a few short blocks from the finish. You’ll swing around the traffic circle and take in a few short blocks before veering off on Olive Street.
Now that you’ve Run the Line, it’s time to bring this race to a finish!
Last Updated (Saturday, 16 February 2013 13:40)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
Mile 12 starts in the historic Highland Park area. Not only are there gorgeous old homes and tall trees lining the street, but this year we’ll have some rockin’ entertainment to help you bring it home!
Just before the water station you’ll pass Spotlight Karaoke Professional DJ and KJ Service. Jonathan Lenaway will be out spinning tunes for you as you head toward the home stretch.
If you've run this race before, you know Jonathan. He's the dude who looks like ZZ Top's younger, bald brother. I'm sure he'll be in the street cheering you on as you come by. We love Jonathan's music, and he's been with us for three years (since we started adding more musical acts to the course).
We caught up with Jonathan to ask about his Run the Line experience:
RtL - You're all over the place playing! I've never asked before how Spotlight Karaoke started.
Jonathan - I bought out Showtime karaoke back in 2005 from a couple who used to do it at the Junction on State Line...
RtL - Cool. You certainly made the most of it. You were in a band? What type of band were you in? Do you still perform outside of Spotlight Karaoke?
I played in and out of rock bands for about 20 years. I have currently created my own studio and enjoy writing my own stuff!!!!
RtL - I know we'll have your top 10 playlist for runners on Facebook...what kind of show do people get when they hire you?
I bring a combination of D.J. and Karaoke to the table. Its always a good show with a lot of cool lighting and great sound..
RtL - You're now a veteran performer at Run the Line. This is your third year. What have you liked about the race?
I just think it is great to see so many people rally together for a good cause....To be a part of this event for three years now has been a blessing...
RtL - How do people get a hold of you to hire you for an event?
Jonathan's Top 10 running songs are part of our Facebook coverage. Be sure and check out our Facebook page to see the tunes he likes and maybe listen to a few on our Spotify playlist.
The Rest of Mile 12
You’ll reach water station #7 as you complete Pine Street and turn toward Olive Street. This is another beautiful stretch of road on your way back downtown. Just after you finish Olive Street you’ll turn left and see the “12” mile marker ahead. You’ve almost reached the finish!!!!
Last Updated (Friday, 15 February 2013 19:37)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
Stacey Sewell knows how to train for big races. Not only did Stacey win last year's race in 1:32.28, but this local runner has a long list of top finishes. We caught up with her recently to talk about her training, last year's race, and what she's done since then.
- How has your training been going since the big win last year?
My training has been going good. I'm currently in between marathons. I ran the Dallas marathon in December. I've been taking a break from the really long runs that come along with full marathon training. I have been following a training program specifically for half marathons. I was a little wiped out from training after the Dallas marathon. But, in the last couple of weeks, I've become more energized and focused on the upcoming Run the Line half marathon. I'm also registered to run the Little Rock half marathon on March 3rd. So, I have back to back half marathons scheduled. I'm a bit apprehensive about running two half marathons so close to one another. I'll give it my best and see how it goes.
- What's been the highlight of your year since last year's win?
I've had an extraordinary year! I never anticipated winning last year's Run the Line. I was absolutely thrilled with bringing home an overall title again. Winning Run the Line certainly ranks at the top of my running highlights of 2012. Next on the highlight reel, I was honored to run the Boston Marathon in April. As most runners know, running Boston is an ultimate goal. I had a wonderful experience in Boston. It was such a thrill participating in a race with the best of the best. Mother Nature was not my friend in Boston, as an unprecedented heat wave swept the city on race day sending temperatures to 90 degrees. I'd say that was the most physically challenging thing that I've ever done running 26.2 miles in 90 degrees. But, I would not trade the memories from Boston for anything. Like I said before, 2012 was an extraordinary running year for me.
My final highlight, I was set to run the New York City Marathon in November. I trained so hard for this race and was looking forward to performing my best. But, as you know, Hurricane Sandy hit and caused massive destruction to New York. Did I mention that Mother Nature was not my friend? I traveled to New York for the race but it was cancelled the day I arrived. But all was not a loss. I made plans with friends to run Central Park instead on race day. The park was full of runners from all over the world, carrying their country's flags and running with big smiles through the park. It became the Run Anyway Marathon! The best part about this experience was that my daughter, Madison, got to run in Central Park with me. She said that was by far the best part of our trip to New York City. That's what I love about running. The runners, who had trained for months and flown across the world to particpate in NYC were not bitter about the marathon being cancelled. We ran with joy and thankfullness. I hope to one day return and run the actual NYC marathon course. But, I have no regrets and am honored to have participated in the "Run Anyway Marathon."
As you can see it would be difficult for me to pick one highlight from 2012. I've had a blessed year!
- What advice do you have for runners experiencing RTL for the first time?
My advice would be to relax and have fun! Run the Line has one of the best race atmospheres that I've experienced. Enjoy it! As far as the course, the Arkansas Blvd hill is the most challenging part of the course. I'd advise runners to remember once you're at the top of the hill the worst part of the course is over. You're about to cross the state line and be back in Texas and midway point is right around the corner. Don't give up! Keep pushing on. I'd also encourage all the runners to stick around for the post race activities. The award ceremony is so much fun. You've trained hard and just ran 13.1 miles. Celebrate this accomplishment and swap war stories with all the other runners.
- What's your best memory of last year's race?
I run with the most amazing group of runners in Texarkana. I absolutely credit my win to my running group. They kept me accountable and pushed me every morning to perform my best. So my best memory was running with all off my friends and seeing them reach their goals, most having personal best times that day.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 12 February 2013 21:28)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
The eleventh mile is a transition mile, moving you from the northern-most neighborhoods of the trail, back toward downtown. The mile starts with a water stop, then you’ll descend a sharp hill again below the same railroad viaduct you encountered before the park.
The water stops along the course, organized by Partnership for the Pathway President Mel Brothers and a huge team of volunteers, will have water first and Poweraid second in line.
If you want Poweraid, look past the first few people holding out water toward the last table at the water stop. That’s where you’ll find what you’re looking for.
A nice crowd will greet you as you turn onto Texas Boulevard and head toward downtown. Once you cross Texas Boulevard you’ll notice the houses become more historic. You’ve entered the Highland Park area, and you’re in for a treat. I was in one of the homes along these streets today, and it was built in 1928. By now, the crowd has thinned and there’s a good chance that you’ll have few runners around you, so this may be a good time to enjoy some of the architecture as you run by.
Last Updated (Friday, 15 February 2013 18:52)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
We were sad to hear that Phoebe Rose who performed last year at Run the Line and at the Partnership for the Pathway Membership Party wouldn't be able to perform in Spring Lake Park this year. But there's good news on two fronts: First, Phoebe can't perform because she'll be part of an All State Choir competition this weekend (I told you we partner with brilliant performers)!
Good news on another front: with the open space we're now able to bring you Glad You Came Mobile Disc Jockey service. Here's a (very funny) interview we finished earlier today with DJ Donny to bring you up to speed on them:
1) We're excited to have you performing in Spring Lake Park this year! Tell us about "Glad You Came"
2) What type of music should people expect out there running through Spring Lake Park?
Don't expect your run of the mill "Eye of the Tiger" type music. We don't run that route. I'm not going to show my cards just yet, but let's just say Buffalo Bob from Silence of the Lambs might enjoy doing his dance to a couple of my tunes.
3) You told me you work out also. Do you run at all?
I used to love to run; nature's antidepressant, but I'm in the process of coming back from a arthroscopic surgery on my left knee. I tore some cartilage practicing my tennis serve of all things. No joke, just sad. I love tennis so I spend my rehab hours on the courts mostly.
4) What type of events do you typically do and how do people get in touch with you if they want to hire you?
We have and will DJ just about any event. Birthdays, reunions, wedding receptions, RV park mixers...(I actually turned that last one down), but we do just about any event and we are there to please. People usually get in touch with me by calling or texting (903) 748-4016.
5) Some of our runners aren't from around here. How far do you travel typically?
The longest distance I've ever traveled was to Indiana to DJ a friend's wedding, but normally it's within a 30 mile radius of where I live. The cost does go up the further I have to travel, but living in Atlanta and being central to places like Longview, Shreveport, and Texarkana, you have to expect at least a 30 minute travel and not charge extra for it if you plan on having competitive prices.
We look forward to rockin' to your beats, Donny!
Last Updated (Thursday, 14 February 2013 21:18)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
Mile 9 completes the loop around Spring Lake Park and sends runners out toward the surrounding neighborhoods. The trail you’re on is called the Phillip McDougal Trail.
Here’s a little about Phillip and his spouse Holly:
Phillip McDougal was devoted to his wife, Holly, their little girl, Gracie, and his extended family. He enjoyed life and loved outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, or running. Despite his youth and fun outlook, Phillip had a lot of responsibility and weight on his shoulders. His young wife, Holly, had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor and he was owner of The McDougal Group and General Construction Company. Phillip was scarcely 35 years old when he was hit and killed by a hit and run driver while riding his bicycle on nearby Summerhill Road.
Holly and Phillip were high school sweethearts. Holly, the love of Phillip’s life, was fun and quick to laugh. Her heart was broken by Phillip’s death, but it was her brain tumor that ended her life just three years later at age 38.
Once you leave the Phillip McDougal Trail, you’re hitting the streets in the neighborhoods south of the park. Although there are many hills in this area, you’ll have no problem staying motivated here. Many spectators were out last year around these neighborhoods and we expect this year to be equally as busy.
If you missed the water station along the Phillip McDougal Trail early in Mile 9, don’t worry. There’s another one coming up early in Mile 10.
Some pics of last year's race:
Last Updated (Thursday, 14 February 2013 20:58)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
You’re going to love Mile 8 of the Run the Line race. Two years ago, when I first ran the event, this was maybe my favorite mile because running around Spring Lake Park, no matter how fast or slow you wish to go, is a breath of fresh air. On this mile, you’ll exit the roadways of Texarkana and hop onto one of the premier trails in town, the Phillip McDougal Trail at Spring Lake Park.
If you're new to Texarkana, I'll tell you this: EVERYONE loves this walking trail. The woman who cuts my hair walks it. My neighbors walk it (we don't live close to the park). It's a nice destination and the trail is about the right length for a healthy workout. Here's a trail review from our friend Emily Jones Covington.
Coming in the next few weeks to this trail around the park is a new series of mileage markers. For a preview of this, check out the Partnership for the Pathway article on the topic.
This is a special trail to me because it was the first place I worked out in Texarkana when we first moved to town two years ago. I like the 1.7 mile trek because there’s lots to look at. The trail winds around the lake, through woods, across a field and next to softball and baseball parks. There are often friendly runners on the trail, and if you’re doing a longer workout, you’ll pass these same smiling faces multiple times.
We are lucky to have more entertainment for you once you reach the park. Our newest entertainer on the course is DJ Donny of Glad You Came Mobile DJ's. Watch for him up near the softball diamonds.
Just past Phoebe Rose you’ll curl behind Dobson Field and find the 8 mile mark. Can you believe it? You have just over 5 miles to go!
Last Updated (Saturday, 16 February 2013 14:36)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
Ah, Mile #7.
Now that Arkansas Boulevard has turned to Texas Boulevard, the race reaches it’s halfway point. Early in this mile is another water stop, this one manned – or in this case “woman’d” by the team from Hooters. Like many of our relay stop teams, Hooters has been a race supporter since year #1.
Just past this stop you’ll turn left and see a huge group of runners ahead. Welcome to the relay handoff point.
I saw the relay chips today. You’ll receive instructions on how to wear them at packet pickup, but I can assure you: if you’re running the relay, they’re easy to use.
Some people have asked about transportation. We’ll have transportation from the race start to the relay point, as well as transportation back from the relay point to the finish line.
Back to the course: Just after the relay exchange you’ll take a sharp right turn, descend quickly down a hill to pass under a railroad bridge, then a short, but fairly severe hill back up on the other side. If you're like me and aren't a particularly fast runner, at this single point you'll see runners coming the other way. They've finished nine miles and are headed toward downtown. You'll be there soon, too!
The mile ends as you enter into another nice neighborhood, on your way to the second park trail the Partnership for the Pathway has helped with: The Phillip McDougal Trail at Spring Lake Park.
Last Updated (Monday, 11 February 2013 23:57)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
You’ll reach the 4 Mile sign just as you complete the long, wide straightaway along Pinson Drive and turn left onto E 48th Street. This is the northernmost point of the race.
Even though you still have over 9 miles to run, just realize that it’s all south-bound from here on out!
My training runs often take me along 48th Street, as I wind my way south toward the Nix Creek Trail. This street is representative of many in the Texarkana, Arkansas area; nice tree-lined streets and quiet neighborhoods. You’ll be able to see downhill as you reach the second water station of the day. Make sure and take plenty of water!
Just beyond the water station, look to your left. The City of Texarkana has a new trail, connecting these neighborhoods to the elementary school you passed only a few minutes earlier. In fact, Partnership for the Pathway (the group putting on this race) donated the money to extend the trail to the back door of the school. In essence, your entrance fee helped us keep kids out of the road on their way to school.
I should take a minute and talk about water stations.
For those of you who haven’t run ½ marathons before, these water stations also have Poweraid available if you want a sports drink instead of straight water. Listen to the people helping distribute water carefully. You’ll want to make sure you grab the right type of drink.
Also, these aren't your normal water stations. These people are nuts! Check out some of the crazy costumes and fun as you run by.
The race turns south onto a main road, Jefferson Avenue. Enjoy the gentle downhill here, because you’re about to tackle the biggest hill on the entire course of the Run the Line race during Mile #6.
Last Updated (Sunday, 10 February 2013 14:45)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
We’re hoping for some fun along the wooded area for you….don’t want you dozing off this early in the race. At the end of this block skirting a small woods you’ll find your first water station. These are manned by our army of incredible volunteers. A big hand goes out to the Partnership for the Pathway President, Mel Brothers, who organized the water stops. While we’re saying “thanks!” to people, I should also mention Sharon Sheppard, who brought together a huge group of volunteers for the race.
When you cross 24th Street you’re now on the north end of Nix Creek Trail. Less than 50 yards from the road look for a sign on the left side of the pathway. If you turn around, you'll see that it reads “One Mile” for people coming in the opposite direction. What does this mean to you?
Only one mile of trail left!
On the left, over the fence you may see horses grazing and on your right the creek gurgles below you. In this area we often see cardinals who like the underbrush next to the open trail. Nix Creek is home to many types of birds. In fact, a couple years ago I wrote a piece on the site about cardinals, that you'll find here: Cardinals on the Trail.
The trails steps through a small wooded area before opening into Ed Worrell Park.
Weather permitting, here you’ll get to see crazy man Milam Albright, who'll be playing tunes for you as you go by. We're super-excited that he's joined our lineup for 2013 and we know you'll like his brand of music. Normally, Milam plays parties and is hilarious behind the microphone leading Karaoke at weddings, parties, receptions, and just about any occasion. You can call Milam at (903)244-8243 or via email at milalbrig (at) windstar (dot) com.
If you haven't been following the fun on Facebook, check it out later today....Milam's listed his top 10 songs for runners and we've shared it with everyone there.
After a small dip in the trail the path leads through another tree-lined section. By now you’ll have a school on your right and the road coming up ahead.
The Three Mile Mark just before the road. Only one block of trail left! ...and it's many people's favorite block. More on that tomorrow.
Last Updated (Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:12)
Written by Joe Saul-Sehy
(This post follows the mile 1 preview which was posted yesterday. By the way, I've posted pictures of the starting festivities from last year, if you'd like to have a look.)
Look for the mile marker when you reach Mile #1. Partnership for the Pathway board member John Cook created signs that help give this half marathon some of its flavor. I won’t give away the shape here….just be on the lookout if you haven’t run the race before.
This will also mark the first turn in the race. Here you're sure to meet a loud group of our many, many awesome volunteers. It takes over 90 people to coordinate this race...including many local groups, businesses and kids from at least three different local schools. Thanks to everyone who helps make this such a success!
At the beginning of the second mile, runners funnel onto the Nix Creek Trail, one of the two longest trails in Texarkana, both of which will be featured on the course. These trails are exactly what funds from the race are used to create—safe places for citizens and visitors to walk, run or bike without worrying about traffic.
If you're ever running the Nix Creek Trail in the early morning, as I do, you’ll see early speed walkers and runners getting in the morning workout before heading to the office. Then, as the sun begins to rise higher, you’ll hear laughing and the sounds of children, as the trail traffic gives way to kids headed to school. In fact, you'll be passing two schools on the route and another just after we're off the trail.
Around midday you’ll see mothers with strollers and young children chasing squirrels. Retired people walk the dog or take a stroll. After the afternoon school bell rings the kids are back on the trail, and families take a late afternoon or early evening walk. All in all, as you run nearly 2.5 miles of trail, you’ll see why people around Texarkana love the Nix Creek Trail.
In the first block is home to the Gateway Farmer’s Market. The market is open April through October, and you’ll find organic foods, eggs, crafts and local specialties. The market opens at 7 a.m. and you’ll find farmers there until noon or they’ve run out of goods.
After crossing 9th street, the trail heads up into Jefferson Park. The Texarkana, Arkansas Parks Department, lead by Ross Cowling, has done a good job of patching up the trail in places where it needs help. If you've run the race previously, you may notice a new sidewalk extension which connects the trail to the playground equipment and parking area. Along the trail, you may also notice some new lights, just installed within the last year. Thanks, Ross and team!
The third block of Nix Creek Trail passes behind Arkansas High School, home of the Razorbacks, and at the end of the third block, if you look across Nix Creek trail to the right you’ll see the Arkansas High School football stadium. The school district is nice enough to leave this open to the community to run workouts. It’s a nice, soft track in a quiet environment and the surface was recently updated. I like doing speed work there because of the bright red track and the easy access from the trail.
Now the trail crosses the street and heads to the middle section of the Nix Creek Trail. Here the creek meanders on the left while on your right there’s uninterrupted woods. At the beginning of the block you’ll cross one of the prettier pedestrian bridges in town. My uncle, a civil engineer, happily explained to me that these bridges are created as a single span and are hauled into place before being bolted down to a preconstructed foundation. They’re known for being extremely durable as well as very attractive. Currently, the Partnership for the Pathway (the group putting on the race) is working on helping the city afford another bridge on a trail just south of the race starting line. Can you believe these cost $30,000 or more? They aren't cheap.
On this block you’ll meet the mile marker that shows you mile #2 is complete. Only 11 to go!
Last Updated (Thursday, 07 February 2013 02:37)