Best Marathons In Arkansas – Runner’s Choose Arkansas’s Top Marathons
If you haven't had an opportunity to visit "The Natural State", now is your chance. Arkansas is renowned for it's scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. Come experience the best of Arkansas while participating in one of its best marathons.
Little Rock Marathon
The proceeds from the Little Rock Marathon go towards the local Parks and Recreation facilities. This marathon is the classic 26.2 mile race and is also a Boston Qualifier. This marathon actually has a Pace Team sponsored by Go!Running which is a team of veteran runners that will help you keep your pace along the course.
During the race, traffic will be controlled for eight hours. If you do not finish the marathon within the allotted eight hours you will still be encouraged to finish and will receive your finishers medal, but you may be asked to use the sidewalk for the completion of your race. For the most part, this course is fairly flat. The lowest elevation sits around 225 feet while the highest is around 500. Register for the race here.
"My first participation in the Little Rock Marathon last weekend was wonderful! We enjoyed good weather, a little too warm if anything. There were some decent hills, but they were manageable. The Chicks in Charge got us to a great start. There was plenty of water and Gatorade, cheering crowds, music, tranquility by the woods. I had to struggle in the last few miles due to a leg cramp, but pickle juice was available at cheerful booster station to help me cruise to a decent finish and earn the 3.5 lb medal!" - S.F., Marathonguide.com
" I greatly appreciated the spectators for being there despite the cold and rainy weather. I thought I was going to come home empty-handed, therefore I was thrilled to receive the acrylic 'medal' after crossing the finish line. If it wasn't for the rain, this would have been a perfect race. Also, I paid the extra money for Perks Pavilion. That was well worth it: heat lamps, food, massages, potty." - M.H., Marathonguide.com
Fort Smith Marathon
The Fort Smith Marathon is described as both beautiful and challenging. The course takes the runners along a scenic route of historic downtown Fort Smith. Given it's colorful history of soldiers, cowboys, and outlaws you won’t get bored on the way to the finish line. Get registered here.
This course comes with its fair share of challenges. While the route is beautiful and interesting, the terrain still includes rolling hills with a few good climbs and descents. Many reviews mentioned that the race organizers were well prepared and kept the stations stocked with what they needed to keep the runners going through all the course's ups and downs.
"Well run event for an inaugural. I do applaud the organizers for restocking the stations with cups as soon as they realized they were short. The course was beautiful, but the hills were brutal. Again, that's not a complaint because we were warned on the front page of the website. But this is definitely not a course to target for a PR. I'll be back because it's a challenge and it's close to home. Looking forward to next year." - J.A., Marathonguide.com
"The runners will climb to Hardscrabble Country Club area then re-cross Rogers Avenue, where they'll face the grinding uphill grade of Miletree Drive. The next portion takes runners through Ben Geren Regional Park, climbs to the McClure Amphitheatre at Chaffee Crossing and demands one more uphill push on Old Greenwood Road before bee-lining down North B Street to the riverfront finish line. The scenic race course passes or includes as many city landmarks, parks and trails as possible." - Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine--Facebook.com
Soaring Wings Marathon - Conway
If you are just getting into marathons, Soaring Wings of Conway may be a great way to start! Soaring Wings offers training plans for runners of all experience levels from walkers to seasoned marathoners. Proceeds from the event go to fund the Soaring Wings Ranch. According to the race website, “Soaring Wings is a Christ-centered family and home that provides security, love, and hope to children who need a chance, through no fault of their own, for as long as they need.” Reserve your spot here.
Many reviewers raved about the great organization of the Soaring Wings Marathon and the well stocked and well trained aid station attendees along the way. The course in the full marathon includes a few hills that you will want to be prepared for, especially around mile 18. The half marathon and marathon courses will split around mile ten and will take the runners through beautiful downtown Conway.
"It was great. There were drinks stations at approximately every 1.5 miles - usually before a hill. There were a lot of kids working the drinks station. And they were on top of their game! Then there were kids with adults at some intersections and giving "hi-fives." It was great seeing all the kiddos out there working and supporting the runners. It makes me persevere because I can't let those kids down. There was a Gu station with all flavors you can imagine at Mile #6. The volunteers (kids and adults) were shouting out what they have in their hands. "Gatorade here, water up front" "Gu up front" There was no confusion. I knew exactly where I had to go to get what I needed. At Mile 9 or 10, there were gummi bears. I love gummi bears."
- Laceitupandrun.blogspot.com Review
"This race was worth every second of the 4 hour drive. I've run a lot of races, and Soaring Wings was hands down one of the BEST I've ever run. The volunteers were so friendly and well trained, the course was challenging but beautiful, the on course aid stations were efficient and well stocked, and the overall race day execution was nothing short of superb. Well done! I plan to be back next year, without a doubt!" - - Maribeth Bousum, Facebook.com Review
Hogeye Marathon - Fayetteville
All marathon finishers are awarded a metals and the top three in each age group and gender will be given additional awards on site. The race is held to a strict 6.5 hours which should give you plenty of time to finish, but there is an optional early start if you think you'll need some extra time. Find out more on their website.
The Fayetteville Police, University Police, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department all work together during the Hogeye Marathon to insure that traffic is controlled during the race. The course will take the runners around the gorgeous Lake Fayetteville. There are notable hills at the beginning of the race, around the first two or three miles, and another big climb starting around mile 22, so make sure you gas some gas for the end.
"Beautiful, rolling course. A few prominent hills (most notably around mile 2-3 or so and one small one just before mile 26 that probably seemed much worse than it actually was). Several miles were run on the trail system which was impeccably maintained and beautiful to see an amazing lake view and waterfall, however because it was around the lake and within the woods, spectators were near nonexistent during these miles and pretty thin still otherwise, especially for a college town. The aid station volunteers were all absolutely wonderful and attentive, including some manned by the college guys that really made the race worth running! While a few even had extensive amounts of 'real' food and snacks - very well stocked! - some I noticed had a difficult time keeping up just with beverages even with thinned crowds." -J.S., Marathonguide.com
"There were more drink stops in this race than in any marathon I have ever run in. I learned some lessons in topography, meteorology and psychology with this one! The beginning of the race tends to be down hill the end of the race tends to be uphill. Better leave some mojo for that. Very pretty course. Organizers can be very proud of that. People were very friendly...someone gave my buddy a rain jacket when it started to rain...people were kind to cheer even when the weather seem about ready to go south on us." - B.D., Marathonguide.com
White River Marathon - Cotter
This marathon is a fundraiser to help build potable water wells in Kenya. It is a fast, flat, and easy run as far a marathons are concerned. The scenery is beautiful! If you are just getting into marathons, trying to set a new PR, or even qualify for Boston, then you may want to check out this race. Learn more here.
This course is one of the flattest and fastest to run in the United States. The highest elevation for the is found at the starting line at 643 feet. In contrast, the lowest point is at the finishing line at 433 feet. The course is totally paved so you won’t have to worry about adjusting to new surfaces along the way. The out and back in the course allows the runners to encourage and cheer each others on when they double back and pass the other runners.
"I've done a few big city marathons. I love the crowds, the signs, the cheering of a big marathon. White River has very little of that, but if you want your marathon to be about the run itself, you can't pick a better marathon. The route is flat and fast. Passing the other runners during the out-n-back route, there are sincere words of encouragement. I truly loved the camaraderie between the runners more at this race than any other. Between the few spectators, water stop people recognizing you after your first pass by, and the encouragement from the other runners, this was also my favorite spectator experience yet. The scenery is beautiful. I'm sure I'm partly biased due to the cool temps, no rain, and first BQ, but I really can't picture anything I wish had been different about this race!!!" - Tim Rasmussen, Marathonguide.com
"This was the smallest marathon I have ever run but one of the best. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the big town races but I didn't miss them. A group of us drove almost 5 hours to the race and it was well worth it. I was nervous about the out-back-out-back for the full but it was so neat to see my other friends when we would make the turns. It did get lonely on the last 6 miles but the volunteers were great! They were the encouragement I needed to get to the finish line. The post race food was great (soup, pizza, bbq, rolls, etc..) and having it all at the warm school was nice. The post-race massage was awesome! Medals were pretty cool too. Thanks for the hospitality." - Ashley Dahlman, Marathonguide.com
Arkansas Marathon - Booneville
The Arkansas marathon has been going on for over 45 years. The race will take you under the shadow of Mt. Magazine and along the boundaries of the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests. This is a country race, so don't be surprised if you cross paths with some of Arkansas's abundant native wildlife. Get more information here.
This is a rural race with lots of panoramic views. While the course does not feature any very serious climbs, it does have a lot of rolling hills you will need to train for. Some reviewers mentioned that the course did not have enough water stations, so you may want to bring a personal hydration system.
"If you like a hilly challenge, then this is the race for you. Be warned, your GPS will fade on you somewhere between the hills and trees. Miles 24 - 26 are a challenge, with a steep incline to finish out. Good local support. The aid stations had good Gatorade and cold water along with the usual array of fruit and snacks." - J.K., Marathonguide.com
"I drove in from the St. Louis area for this marathon to add Arkansas to my list of states run, and I was not disappointed. As promised, there were plenty of rolling hills. Many aid stations even had fruit, pretzels, corn chips, candy and more - quite a nice treat during the later miles. Very friendly organizing group and aid station volunteers. I even got an age bracket award - what large race can a five-hour-plus runner expect that? The t-shirt is nice, and the Arkansas-shaped finisher's medal is ingenious - and everything for only a $25 entry fee. I would gladly run a similar marathon in another state that I still need toward my goal of running in all 50. Great job." - N.P., Marathonguide.com