OFF THE COUCH: River Trail 15K helps runners slake thirst

— When your tongue has dried itself to the roof of your mouth and shimmering bands of thirst swim on the horizon, it helps to know that local running clubs have endowed the Arkansas River Trail with fountains.

The clubs raise money for such juicy improvements with the annual River Trail 15K. You can add to the effort Saturday by entering the 2008 edition of the 9.32-mile footrace.

Then, when trail users thank the stars for those fountains, you can say, "You're welcome."

Sponsored by the Arkansas Running Klub, the Cabot Country Cruisers and the Little Rock Roadrunners, the race begins at 8 a.m. in North Little Rock's Burns Park Soccer Complex. Runners and walkers will follow the trail along the Arkansas River past Riverview Skate Park before turning back on "Alligator Alley." If they can squeak past the vicious tree on "Barron's Curve," they'll return to the soccer complex on the same very gently rolling hills.

In other words, it's an out-and-back course.

Entry costs $20 ($10 for ages 18 and younger). You can register in person from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Easy Runner shoe store, 400 N. Bowman Road in Little Rock.

Race-day registration costs $25 ($15 for the young people) and will be accepted from 6:30-7:45 a.m. in the soccer complex. The event is part of the Arkansas Grand Prix series, and so online registration, directions and more are at


With less than a month before their big day, members of the Little Rock Marathon Training Team will meet at 6 a.m. Saturday to "goof off" together in Little Rock's Murray Park.

From now until race day, these runners and walkers are tasked with taking it easy, so their muscles and minds will be fresh for the 26.2-mile challenge March 2.

"Easy" is a relative term, ofcourse. Marathoners are supposed to do 12 miles, half-marathoners have 8, and relay racers are scheduled for 6.

More information is at


Tornado damage in the Mountain View and Allison area has not canceled this weekend's Sylamore 50K, one of the coolest woodland-trail events around. Coolest in the literal sense, some years.

Race director Greg Eason says power is back on and the White River Angler will be able to accommodate his event as planned. But no one should expect every little thing to be as it would be in a normal year, not with the area in such pain.

Registration for Saturday's race along North Sylamore Creek closed Monday. More information is at


The Little Rock Rangershave their weekly coed scrimmage and practice at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Burns Park Soccer Complex. They usually meet at Field 22.

Anyone age 15 or older is welcome to come out to learn Gaelic football, a popular Irish sport that's only a little bit like American football.

More information is at lit


The Arkansas Bicycle Club welcomes guests on its group outings provided they wear helmets and accept responsibility for their own safety.

At noon Saturday, a leaderless group will set out from the parking lot of Pinnacle Mountain State Park's main picnic area to ride various routes. Pace and difficulty depend upon who shows up.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Coreen Fraiser heads up an easy-tomoderate 35-mile ride on the River Trail. The pace averages 12 to 15 mph, but riders of alllevels show up. The group meets in the parking area below the Interstate 430 bridge on the Little Rock side.

Other rides will be posted on the club's message board at www.arkansasbicycleclub. org.


The Little Rock Lewis & Clark Outfitters outlet leads road rides from the shop at 9 a.m. Saturdays. Helmets are required. The store is at 207 N. University Ave. More information is at (501) 537-1401.

Conway bike shop The Ride will gather its racing team on a farm today and Saturday to plan the season and hold a mountain-bike uphill time trial and a road ride. The store is at 2100 Meadowlake Road; more information is at and (501) 764-4500.

To contact this calendar, call (501) 918-4525 or e-mail

Weekend, Pages 69 on 02/15/2008