Hi everyone California Kiley here! I had the chance to run the Little Rock Marathon the week after Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend, so I literally unpacked one suitcase and packed another and headed out to Arkansas to experience a race I have been wanting to run since 2010! When I first put this race on my radar it was all about collecting medals not really much else and even though I have grown far past the medal junkie stage, Little Rock doesn’t disappoint with their medal! Named the biggest marathon medal in the US by Runner’s World it was shell shock when they put this massive thing around my neck!! So bling runners this is the race for you!!! I was lucky enough to be able to run the challenge which was the 5k or 10k on Saturday and the half or the full on Sunday. You collect an extra medal for doing the challenge at the end of the full or the half. So again my bling friends – you can walk away with 3 medals from this weekend for finishing the challenge.
Take a look at all the HUGE medals from the 2017 Little Rock Marathon Weekend!
At first I didn’t really expect a ton from this city or this race. I figured it would be a small town race, which I actually personally love, but as far “fan fare” it would be small. Boy was I wrong!! Arriving in Little Rock Airport the sign actually was welcoming runners!! The city really takes pride in their race on all fronts.
Most of the hotels in Downtown Little Rock have airport shuttles which is awesome not having to worry about renting a car and since you can walk to the start line from most of the area hotels it’s one expense you can save! The expo is hosted in the Marriott’s convention center locals might remember this hotel as the Peabody Hotel the hotel with the ducks that march thru the lobby but sadly the Marriott has retired the ducks so the only place left to see those marching ducks is in Memphis! The expo was massive compared to what I expected and totally decorated with their 2017 theme which was… Runalicious!!! A candy theme!!
My creative brain went crazy with costume ideas for the shorter distances!! If you follow us on instagram @runalltheraces you already got to see what I came up with for the 10k. The expo had so many other great sounding races such as the Route 66 Marathon, which has been on my race radar for the last couple of years. I’m hopeful that this race is in our near future.
Also at the expo was Heifer International and, since their headquarters are literally down the street, they had a pen full of baby goats to hold and pet!!
After hugging baby goats and picking up all of our bibs and t-shirts we headed out to explore Downtown Little Rock. I was so amazed by how many really interesting restaurants they have in the area. If you follow me on Instagram @kjmajeski you see I visit a lot of small town random type places but Little Rock really isn’t “small town” it’s actually pretty cool. As a lover of vintage and retro the downtown stole my heart with its 1950’s store windows and signage as well as it’s turn of the century homes you run past during the race, one word amazing!
5k and 10k
Both the 5k and 10k are held on Saturday, along with a kids run, so my big costume would be Saturday. I have been wanting to do a candy themed costume for quite awhile but it never seemed to fit anywhere until this race. Coming off the Princess weekend at Disney really pressed me for time so I went with pieces I already had but I still felt it needed more so I walked the candy aisle the day before I left for inspiration and the candy boxes would make a candy box hat that I would make in the hotel room once I got to Little Rock.
This was me the night before the 5k and 10k…
We had such a blast on Saturday and getting to literally tour a city on foot during a race is one of my favorite things about racing. Having never been to Little Rock I was thrilled to have the 5 and the 10k to tour the city more and hug on the goats yet again!
It was also so much fun finishing and going back on the course and cheering on the rest of the runners – it was such an honor to walk the last finishers in as well.
Since I dressed up bigger for Saturday I toned it way down for the full. The night before leaving I tossed this candy skirt together and bow and called it a day for my outfit. Sticking with the theme but still not over killing it for the 26.2 mile journey.
The full marathon had a raining start but by the second half of the marathon the light rain had stopped. One thing to know full marathons are long!! No matter how great the crowd support is which Little Rock had a great deal off it’s still a long way to run. The town of Little Rock takes so much pride in their marathon so many stops along the way and tons of food and drinks to help pass the miles. My favorite food was the bbq pineapple!! That group stole my heart it was so good big thanks for that incredible treat! The second half of this marathon is no joke lots of climbing but Little Rock is walker friendly with an 8 hour time limit you can take your time and enjoy the view! For me I’m a middle of the packer between 5 hours and 6 is usually where I come in, and there was so much love on the course for all of us. At 26 there is the famous “lipstick stop” where you are given lipstick!! Super fun I didn’t glam as much as normal just because of the rain but I’m loving the color I was given. Entering the finish area you could see the huge medals hanging in the distance I couldn’t believe how heavy it was once it was put on my neck!! They make running 26.2 miles very worth it in the medal department.
From there I headed to the challenge medal booth to collect my 3rd medal for the weekend and then on to the “perks” tent. This is the VIP section that is open to anyone for a $25 price, it some of the best pulled pork sandwiches ever! As well as desserts, pizza, drinks coffee, soda, candy, sandwiches, hummus, chips and soup!! I’m sure I forgot something but defiantly worth the price! Perks also has their own bag check and their own massage area. I love that both perks and the finisher area are inside the convention center so you aren’t freezing or roasting outside! The normal finishers area had food as well and it was listed on the bib to be checked off when you went thru the food area, they had pasta, soda, bread and desserts. Needless to say you aren’t going home hungry after the Little Rock Marathon or Half! This was a fly in and fly out race for me I took a shower and headed to the airport to head home. I have to say this was one of the nicest marathons I’ve been to for a couple of reasons, it had a small race feel but was actually a large race. Never did I feel alone on the course, it had some tough parts that were challenging but had some great fast parts as well. I’m really hoping to venture back out to this race for next year.
Thanks Little Rock for the memories!!! Runalicious!!
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