A Weekend for New B’s
The light wasn’t even peeking over the lake yet, the only light shimmering on the water was from the outdoor lamps lighting the porches on the Ferncliff campus. The water tower had been filled with ice and water, the race numbers and sign up roster were out for racers to make it official and my hope was high, waiting for women to stumble out of their cozy bunks to meet me at the bridge for the New Balance Arkansas Blogger Bash 5K.
A few weeks ago I opened my email to find a note from my beloved Park Wife about the possibility of having a 5K Run during the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference. I think she knows this kind of stuff makes my world go round. Without any details, I said “of course, just tell me what you want and need me to do.” Oh and by the way, my BRB, Best Running Buddy, Ashley is going to be my co-director. Score. Over the course of the weeks leading up to the conference weekend, we emailed back and forth about how to invite women to join in, about the involvement of New Balance Arkansas and their desire to engage our blogging community, we talked about prizes and social media and blog-love. I knew we could pull a few runners and walkers from the 100 attendees and I also knew if we gave fun options to participate that didn’t involve running, we could really have a great event. Executive Director of Ferncliff, the extraordinary David Gill, was on hand the day before the race to show me and race co-director Ashley the way. He and his facility will be getting a blog all their own, it’s incredible. The beauty of the campus trails got me so excited, I couldn’t wait to get back and tell the ladies about all the cool things they’d get to see if they ran with us: two lakes, a log cabin, a straw bale solar powered eco house, goats, chickens and some beautiful trails.
I hope it was our passionate plea and lively description of the views that inspired 24 women to run or walk and another 10 to come out to volunteer, take photos, Tweet, Instagram and VLOG the adventure.
Ashley and I hatched a plan to fit in one of the New Balance mottos by having the runners stop at 4 points along the course to perform a task like “do 25 jumping jacks” or “tell me someone you’ve met and the name of their blog”. Each completed task would earn a word tile that would have to be unscrambled to read Let’s Make Excellent Happen before they could officially finish the race.
Our New Balance Arkansas Blogger Bash 5K had it all: words, pictures, New Balance and newbies. Many of the women were running their very first 5K race! Maybe they had been running for exercise, or running some at the gym, or like my new friend Terra, had planned on walk/jogging but were so inspired by the camaraderie that they ran the whole thing! Our 5K winner was Wendy, who was running her very first “race” and finished in just over 25 minutes. Whitney was testing an injury from her Ironman training and ran with Wendy for almost the entire race. This is what happens when it all comes together: the joy of being outside with friends old and new swirls around us despite the early hour and the mosquitoes that Heather swore might carry her away from her volunteer post.
We learned about each other as new bonds were forged in the pounding of shoes on the dirt. We cheered, we shouted, we hugged and we danced. And that my friends is why we do these things and why we’re so thankful that New Balance Arkansas was willing to support our community of runners who like to use words. We like mottos and themes and instructions. We like to Make Excellent Happen.
For more pictures and words you can search #AWBU or #RunBloggerRun on Instagram and Twitter. I have been loving on the instaphotos BRITTANYLLITTLE of Ramblings of a Little Wife has been putting up.