Game On! Little Rock Marathon
Some of the most prominent values of ArkansasAcro are community involvement and the promotion and encouragement of healthy lifestyles. These values led us to volunteer as a cheer station at the Little Rock Marathon on March 6th. We wanted to be a part of making this event big, exciting and fun. Our group of around 12 may seem insignificant in a marathon/half-marathon of 6312 runners, 37 entertainment groups, 13 group sponsors, and 10 aid station groups. But we saw first hand the impact we made when the exhausted runners’ faces brightened up as they passed by.
The theme of the marathon was “Game On,” so we all dressed up as playing cards and made posters with game-themed phrases and images. It was fun to see runners dressed up as characters such as Princess Lollipop from Candyland or the Queen of Hearts or even as game boards such as Twister. This gave us an immediate connection with the runners on the grounds of familiarity. Most other runners had their names displayed on their race number bibs, allowing us to shout direct encouragement at specific runners.
Arkansas Acro was posted just past mile marker 19 so we acted as entertainment to boost the full-marathon runners through the last 7 miles of their treck. The faster runners passed us after around two hours of running, while some of the slower runners were five or six hours into the race by the time they passed us. On either end of the spectrum, the runners were exhausted and clearly needed some encouragement and something to put a smile on their face. It was fun to see how something as simple as a headstand or seated throne brightened up the faces of the passers-by. Many of the runners shouted things such as “Now, THAT is impressive.” We made sure to shout back “YOU’RE the impressive one, you’re the one running a marathon.” We had fun thinking of creative ways of holding the signs: between our feet in headstands or star, while standing in two high or foot to foot, or just relaxing in throne. John and Jill, two of our cheering acroyogis had the idea of standing in flag and high-fiving the runners as they passed.
The most exciting part of the day was simply seeing how acroyoga can cheer up someone and give them an extra pep in their step for the last few miles of the run. Our own Sam Pettit ran the marathon and Clark Smith ran the half-marathon. But those of us who are not runners were happy to use the skills we have and enjoy to support the brave runners. We look forward to many different opportunities to volunteer at community events such as this one in the future.