story and photos by Ruby Dean
What could one do if bored today? How about run a 5K, 10K, or a 15K at Lake Fort Smith? Despite the cooler temperatures and a few snow flurries early Saturday morning (Jan. 5), 60 runners came out to run.
The first run of the Hillbilly Trail Running Series point ranking system began Saturday, with a trail run over the hills and through the woods at Lake Fort Smith. The runners were not the only things running this morning as four doe were scared from their resting place and dashed out of the woods.
"Truthfully, this 15K is going to be one of the hardest runs in Arkansas. This is a beautiful area and a lot of fun to run for all runners,” said event organizer Chris Turner.
The run included trails, dirt roads, and pavement. The hardest part of the run on the 15K were two hills runners had to conquer. The hills were two miles in length. The 5K included only one dirt hill which was 1/4 mile long. The average time for the run on the 5K was estimated to be 30 minutes; 10K 1 hour; and the 15K 2 hours.
It took the crew three hours to mark the trails and approximately six hours to clear the trails.
“This trail run is grueling and scary. Lots of people use these trails. We are glad to get people here to the park and some of the proceeds will go to a charity,” said Joe Hamilton, a park interpreter.
David Heim, a participant in the 15K, began trail running this summer. He gave a few helpful hints one of which was "when stepping on a stick with say your right foot, watch out that you don't trip over it with the left foot as it pops up on the opposite side."
Emily Bremer from Minnesota, who was visiting her sister in Fayetteville, said "the 5K trail was very treacherous and challenging." This was her second trail run. She finished in 23:48.
Runners Jeremy Provence and Carter Witt stayed pretty close in most of the race in the 15K. Provence, from Winslow, pulled away as the climb began up the first dirt hill, and finished the race first with a time of 1:05:43. Carter finished second with a time of 1:13:17.
Witt is a freshman at Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Miss., where he runs cross country on a scholarship. Witt attended high school at Dardanelle where he ran track. This is his off season and the run was "rough and hilly, but a good starting back race.” He said trail running is his favorite.
This was the first of eight runs in the Hillbilly Trail Running series. Runners earn points and the one who has the most points at the end of the series will win money. There will be two zombie runs, two mud runs, and the rest are trail runs. The runs are held in Arkansas and in Oklahoma City.
Link here for complete results from the Lake Fort Smith run.