Larry’s Run for Cystic Fibrosis is billed as the toughest 8 mile race in NW Arkansas and it certainly fits the description. The fact that it’s the only 8 mile race in NWA doesn’t hurt either. No matter how you look at it, the course is fun and challenging.
The race is really well ran. This was the second year in a row that I have ran, although it was the 5k race last year. Since putting a majority of our focus on the trail side of things, we haven’t been running too many road races. Larry’s Run is a race that we will run every year. The race packet was awesome! It had your usual goodies but also had a hat, shirt and a fantastic bag that I know will be used for a drop bag in future ultras. Brock Entertainment was there handling the DJ duties, Race-Wizard did the timing chips. It is a first class event.
This was our first year running the 8 mile course and it was a blast. Lots of elevation changes and probably close to 2 miles on well maintained gravel roads. That was the part that I was most excited about!! There’s just something about getting off of the asphalt that makes my legs feel lighter, like I’m a kid just playing outside. The course finishes back on the paved Crystal Bridges trails, up the infamous “Bentonville Hill”.
This years race was all about redemption for us, and we passed with flying colors. It felt so great to be racing with Summer again! I know how much it kills her to be injured and it seems like she’s had one after another lately. She still isn’t 100% yet but Larry’s Run was the perfect step in the right direction. Can’t wait to do it next year.-JH
We line up at the red arches. I feel my heart thudding in my chest. This is the first race since my sprained ankle (which is still tender). Of course I forget to start my watch and phone (which ran out of high-speed data and is currently running off of 2G, blahhh). The buzzer goes off and I start-up both devises. Personally, I like to know what my pace and time are. Not that I want to keep a certain pace, just that I want to know what my body is feeling at a certain point in a race.
I’m under the impression that we are running on paved roads the whole time, well I assumed wrong. At about 4.5 miles we hit dirt roads. My husband’s excited, he’s ready to beast it out, but my ankle is a little unsteady, so I have taken it easy. Glancing up the first hill I think “Damn, this is steep”. Well I’m totally right, not only is it steep, but long. Midway up the hill there are people playing country music with hillbilly teeth in (I had a good laugh). I think the hill must be done right, no, it’s only the halfway point. I’m breathing heavy and want to stop, but I remember last year, how I couldn’t run the race, and it gives me the strength to fight it out. Running through a couple more medium hills, I’m wondering ” Are ever going to get back to the road.”
We top the last hill, a woman in a van announces we have 1.5 miles to go. I look at my watch, she must be high, we still have 2.75 miles left. Such a cruel woman, getting people’s hopes up, letting us think that we are almost done with this hilly 8 mile run. I’m feeling out of breath and ready to cross the finish line. I know that I can push the last few miles.
We’re at the bottom of the “Bentonville Hill”, I beast it up to the midway point (I know, I can see a trend here), lungs are burning, ready to pop, so I walk. There are people in front of us, giving me the motivation to pick it up. We round the corner to finish, my legs are dead, I don’t have it in me to pick up the pace, to finish strong like every other time I race. I stand there letting the volunteer cut off my chip, breathing hard and feeling amazing. I finished Larry’s run!!!!
Looking back, I have a new appreciation for Josh, the whole race he was there to in courage me and let me run at my own pace. I know I held him back, but he did his good husbandly duties and let me lead. Next year, I will be giving him a run for his money. I plan on smashing Larry’s run next year. -SH