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McCollum's Column: Setting the scene at the Toad Suck runs

Posted: May 3, 2014 - 6:43pm

More than 1,200 runners raced in the Toad Suck 10K and 5K on a gorgeous Saturday morning.

Several who might have participated couldn’t make it.

Priorities.

They were either cleaning up personal debris or helping teams of others from the devastation at Mayflower and Vilonia.

Before the race, there was a moment of silence for victims. One participant wore a T-shirt shirt that expressed common sentiments: “Pray for Mayflower and Vilonia.”

Some other tidbits from races on an almost perfect day without even a hint of rain.

ROUTE CHANGES

The courses for the 10K and 5K were completely changed this year with the runners heading east from John McConnell Stadium instead of west.

Cliff Henry, who heads the race efforts for the Conway Kiwanis Club, said the race route was reconfigured so runners would not tie up traffic at several major intersections in Conway. “We also didn’t need as many law enforcement officers monitoring major intersections,” Henry said. “That way, they could devote their attention to other things.”

For the first time, there were staggered starts with the 5K beginning 10 minutes after the 10K start. That did complicate things for spectators at the finish. The fastest 5K runners and the 10K runners finished close to the same time and it was difficult to detect whether a charging runner was a 10Ker or 5Ker.

OVERHEARD

One worker who had aided in cleanup efforts all week said the needs are many but not bottled water right now. “We have enough bottled water to float from Vilonia to Mayflower,” he said.

AN EXTRA BURDEN

One woman, with tubes in her nose from medical equipment, adjusted it in a backpack before she ran one of the races. “I do not see how you do it all the time,” said her companion.

BEST SIGN ALONG THE ROUTE

“Not sure he enjoys running but he’s too cheap to buy gas.”

COLOR OF THE DAY

Something neon, especially green. Many runners had on the bright togs.

FOR VETERANS

Several runners carried American flags along the entire route. One of them was Mike Mason of Conway. “I’m carrying the colors for those who can’t,” he said.

EASY TO FIND

Marvin Fisher of Sherwood, dressed in a green vest and hat, carried a giant American flag on an adjustable long pole, all about John McConnell Stadium — at the start, the finish line and at the awards ceremony.

“I carry it for everybody,” he said. “I carry it every race my wife runs ... makes it easier to find me.”

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)

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