Sept. 22: RUN FOR KAYAKS!
That 4-mile run won’t be easy—the Caddo Bend Trail at Lake Ouachita State Park is rocky and hilly—but it will be lovely. Plus, the Caddo Bend Paddle Duathlon ends in a 2-mile kayak on what is arguably our state’s prettiest lake. Will it be a quick race? Probably not. But it’ll sure be Instagrammable. Individuals or teams are welcome. (Lake Ouachita State Park; arkansasgettingeveryoneoutside.com)
Sept. 29: RUN FOR PUMPKINS!
The flat-as-a-pancake Great 5K Pumpkin Run will begin at the Lonoke Depot, winding through downtown and looping around the high school before ending in all the pumpkin-patch fun (decorative gourds, face painting, live music, bouncy houses) you can handle. (Lonoke; great5kpumpkinrun.com)
Oct. 6: RUN FOR FREE STUFF!
You gotta love a race where you don’t have to be the fastest to pick up a prize. At Lewis & Clark Outfitters’ Ozark Adventure Dash, you’ve just gotta be perceptive—gift coupons and free gear will be hidden throughout the Lake Fayetteville trail system, where the 2- and 7-mile runs take place. (Springdale; ozarksadventurerace.com)
Oct. 12: RUN FOR BEER!
The Hot Springs Five Beer 5K will lead you down Central Avenue with beer stops—one pour for each K!—along the way. Your $40 entry fee also gets you in to the city’s Oktoberfest celebration. Beer socks (!) not included, but available for purchase. (Downtown Hot Springs; spacityblues.org/5b5k.html)
Oct. 26: RUN FOR MOUNTAIN VISTAS!
If cutting a 65-mile path through Ozark backroads on two feet seems extreme, it is. But it’s not just your two feet—it’s your feet and those of your four or five other teammates. You’ll take turns hoofing it from Lake Fort Smith State Park to Prairie Grove Battlefield Park during the Outback in the Ozarks 65-mile relay, winding your way through some of our state’s prettiest points. Feeling even more adventurous/crazypants? There’s a 200-mile event, too. (outbackintheozarks.com)
March 2019: RUN FOR BAGELS!
The Beer and Bagel Run in Fayetteville doesn’t take itself too seriously. Case in point: You’ll run “4-ish” miles on a trail, and your T-shirt will declare you “a drinker with a running problem.” Ice-cold beer, bagels and chili will greet you at the end. (Hazel Valley Ranch, Fayetteville; beerandbagel.com/bbarkansas)
August 2019: RUN FOR CHICKEN!
It’s a challenging haul up the mountain highway’s switchbacks, but we promise the views will reward your efforts at the Mount Nebo Chicken Fry 10K. And if not, there’s always fried chicken, which will be there whether you race or just race to the buffet. (Mount Nebo State Park; runsignup.com/race/AR/dardanelle/chickenfry10k)