Running Through The Year

By Layne Moore And Michael Roberts


When it comes to running in Bentonville, one or two great races a year just weren’t enough to satisfy the competitive spirit of the eager racers who make their homes in this Ozark city. Home to more than 20 miles of trails, as well as spring and fall training programs sponsored by locally owned Rush Running Company, it’s a place where people take their favorite sport seriously—and expect to have serious fun, too. And for runners in Bentonville, there’s nothing quite as fun as the Run Bentonville Race Series.

The series begins each year with the two-mile Memorial Park Glow Run and culminates with one of the crown jewels of the northwest Arkansas racing scene, the Bentonville Half Marathon, which saw more than 2,600 racers compete in 2015. Now in its sixth year, the half marathon has become an event that involves the entire community, from volunteers manning aid stations to the spectators who show up to cheer and encourage the runners.

What makes Run Bentonville such a unique experience is its diverse lineup of themed runs and race distances. From 5K races like the Superhero Scramble, GoblinRun and Freedom Frost 5K to split distance events like the Slaughter Pen 5K/10K, Irish 5K/10K and Valentines 4K/8K, runners have multiple options to choose from. This variety is present at the half marathon itself, which also includes a 5K single-person race and a 10K two-person relay, all of which send runners by the famed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Compton Gardens and through several of the city’s parks. 

It’s a celebration that this year will include special guest Dick Beardsley, a legendary runner who turned his struggles with post-injury pain medication addiction into the Dick Beardsley Foundation, which provides assistance to those who suffer from chemical dependency. And once the race is finished and the goody bags and hardware have all been handed out, the city throws everyone a fantastic party on the historic Bentonville Square with live music, food and drinks, lots of vendors, and inflatable jump-house fun for the kids.