I flew into Bentonville on Friday for a weekend away from it all. I had hoped to visit with my children, but their mom had made plans for them to be out of town, so even though it was piss poor timing on my part, I still made the trip. I planned to run the River Trail through downtown Little Rock, and even further if I could.
This was my second running vacation. The first I took over Labor Day weekend, flying out to Los Angeles to run in a 10K, a Half and a Full marathon over three days. There were no races in Little Rock, just a gorgeous trail that I’d eyeballed many times in town, but never had the chance to run.
The weather was perfect. It was mid 80’s with a hot sun and a cool breeze that occasionally gusted enough to make headway tough. I parked at The Big Dam Bridge, no seriously, that’s the name of it, a giant pedestrian bridge that arches over a dam, and took off through Murray Park headed for downtown. I made it to Cantrell Road before I lost the trail, so my suggestion to Parks and Rec is to mark the trail better. I turned around and ran back to the bridge, and almost pushed further, but I wanted to save a little bit in the tank for the next day. It was still a good little 6 or 7 mile run, with a little offshoot adventure over behind some buildings that border the Arkansas River.
On Sunday, the weather was even better. The morning dawned rainy and cooler, but the sun quickly warmed it to low 80’s and the wind was still there. This time I headed North. The River trail runs under the I-430 bridge to another pedestrian bridge over the Little Maumelle River and winds around into Two Rivers Park. All I can say is the Parks and Rec department got this one right. The trail was gorgeous, well marked, well used and with the amazing day, a perfect run. My legs were a little tired because I skipped dinner and opted for a fro-yo and early bedtime, but other than that, it was simply incredible.
I have often said if I lived in Little Rock, I would have to be near the River Trail to run up one side and down the other of the river. The city has put some effort into creating a fitness lover’s paradise, and more people should take advantage of it. This Sunday the crowds were a little thicker than I’ve seen before, a few hundred walkers, bikers and less than 20 runners scattered along the trail. Maybe the local runners knew another place to go. But I found a house I wouldn’t mind living in if I moved back to Little Rock. Perched right on the edge of the water with a waterview off one side and Pinnacle standing in the distance on the other. Just yards from the trail.