FORT SMITH — Temperatures were well-above freezing the morning of Feb. 25, when about 120 runners took to the trails around the Trinity Junior High School campus for the first Freezin' for a Reason 5K.
The race benefits the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House and is part of the Survivors' Challenge series. Entrants paid $20 in advance or $25 on race day to compete.
“We love these kind of athletic events. One, it promotes healthy living which decreases disease including cancer, but it also helps us raise money so we feel like it's a great two-fold benefit for us and the community to do these sort of things," said Martha Pendleton, executive director of the support house.
Pendleton said Freezin' for a Reason was created to expand the Survivors' Challenge race into a series of events. A third race, yet to be determined, will be added to the survivors' series next year.
Runners snacked on donated donuts, cinnamon rolls, fruits, coffee and hot chocolate both prior to and following the race. The Coca-Cola Co. donated bottled water and Powerade. Each entrant also received a goody bag with a performance fleece cap monogrammed with the event name and a water bottle.
Dana Brooks, part of a three-women running group, said she would run another 12 miles on Saturday in preparation for a marathon in Nashville, Tenn. “Freezin’” was her first cross country run.
"I almost busted my booty a couple of times. This was good endurance for me; this was a good change," said Brooks, who has lost a family member to cancer.
Volunteers with the Western Arkansas Runners helped plan the event and also worked the race. W.A.R. and the Reynolds Cancer Support House have a long working relationship. The club hosts its monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at the support house.
About 12 members of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith cross country team and about 10 members of the Trinity Junior High cross country team were invited to run in the race without having to pay the entry fee. Pendleton said the younger runners provided valuable encouragement for the other entrants and the workout also benefitted their training routines.
Winners and their times in the men’s division were:
First — Wycliffe Koech, 21, Fort Smith, 17:26
Second — Ian Brect, 19, Fort Smith, 17:37
Third — Philip Kaufman, 39, Fort Smith, 18:18
Winners and their times in the women’s division were:
First — Danielle David, 19, Fort Smith, 20:58
Second — Megan Kale, 29, Fayetteville, 23:53
Third — Lydia Humphrey, 19, Fort Smith 24:32
Read complete results here.
The winners received a fleece blanket monogrammed with the event's logo. About 25 door prizes were also given away by random drawing. A MOTOACTV watch/MP3 player was the largest of the door prizes. Pendleton said Motorola donated two of them to the support house and the second one will be raffled off next week to raise additional funds.