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The ARK 5K Classic

2016 Grand Prix Race #14
North Little Rock, AR - September 3, 2016 - 7:30 AM

Race Highlights

  • Race hosted by the Arkansas Running Klub
  • 2016 will be the 35th running of the ARK 5K on Labor Day weekend
  • USATF Course Certification #: AR10018DLP
  • Proceeds benefit the Arkansas River Trail

Directions to the Starting Line

From I-40 take exit 150. Heading west go left on Charles Boyer then left on Military Drive. Follow the signs to the Soccer Complex on Tournament Drive. Heading east take exit 150 and turn right on Military Drive... following the same signs.


Race History

The Arkansas Running Klub has held this 5K race in North Little Rock on Labor Day weekend dating back to 1982. In the early years, the race was known as the Twin City Bank (TCB) 5K and held in Burns Park. Martin Fulk and Diane Marshall won the inaugural running in 1982. Mike Clark set a then Burns Park course record in 1983, clocking a 15:15 finish. Diane Marshall won again in 1983 and 1984, setting the Burns Park female course record in '84 with a 17:55 time.

The TCB 5K joined the Grand Prix Series in 1983 - the second year of operation for both the race and the Series. After a change in sponsorship, the race was known as the Mercantile Bank 5K from 1996 to 1999. In 2000, the race course moved out of Burns Park to the North Little Rock Riverfront/Argenta area. The name was also changed that year to the ARK Fast 5K - reflecting the new course's flat topography. Minor tweaks in the course and name continued in the 00 decade as the race was subsequently known as the River Run 5K (2003), Riverfront 5K (2004-05, 2010) and the Clear Mountain 5K (2006-2009). In 2010, the race moved back to Burns Park under the name ARK 5K Classic. Leah Thorvilson ran 17:32 that year to beat the old Burns Park course record. For one running of the race in 2013 the race started on Willow Street next to Dickey-Stephens Park and made use of Riverfront Drive and the Arkansas River Trail. 2014 saw a return to Burns Park and the Fun Land Loop Course. In 2015, the race will change locations once again. Still in Burns Park, the race will now take place on the flat roads of the Soccer Complex and the Arkansas River Trail.

A source of stability amid the changes in name and course is the race's affiliation with the Arkansas Grand Prix Series. The ARK 5K has remained part of the Series (always on Labor Day weekend) every year since 1983. Along with the Spa 10K which also joined in 1983, the ARK 5K has the longest run of any race with the Grand Prix Series. The race has often served as an Arkansas State Championship event and was selected as the RRCA National Championship 5K in 1987.


Course Description

The race starts on the northern end of the Soccer Complex in Burns Park. The course begins by heading south on Tournament Dr, then quickly takes a short detour in the eastern parking lots of the complex. The race then returns to Tournament Dr and curves to the east to pass the dog park area as runner leave the Soccer Complex behind. Just prior to the White Oak Bayou, the course pulls a near u-turn to head back to the west on the Arkansas River Trail. Most of the second mile will be on the trail, just adjacent to the Arkansas River. For the race's final mile, the route turns to the north and re-enters the Soccer Complex on the White Oak Bayou Trail. This trail will take runners to the northern edge of the complex, then curves right to return the course onto Tournament Drive near the starting area. Approximately 1/4 of a mile remains in the race at this point, leaving just a short stretch back south on Tournament Drive before a final right turn to the finish line on Soccer Avenue.

For further information, contact:
David Meroney, Race Director
(501) 804-8936
or Brice Hammerstein