Join Spa Running Festival
Hot Springs is a gem of a mountain town, and we’re not the first to notice. The healing waters the town is named for have been attracting everyone from Native Americans to early-20th-century health nuts to a good chunk of the nation’s organized crime leadership. When Hot Springs was at full throttle in the 1930s, it was a hotbed of gambling, bootlegging, prostitution and opulence. Elaborate restored bathhouses, where you can still get old-school spa treatments, line Bathhouse Row behind shady magnolias on the east side of Central Ave.
This will be backdrop for the Summit Challenge Half Marathon!!
You’ll run nearly all the way to the top of West Mountain inside Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park at the all-new Summit Challenge Half Marathon, which makes its annual running at this year’s Spa Running Festival on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, part of an event that has featured a 10K and 5K race for the past few years.
The route is the normal Spa 10K until the top of West Mountain, turn right at the Summit – go to top of the Summit, come back down Summit and West Mountain to Pecan Street, left on Flint, left on Quapaw, left on Fern, right on Pecan, travel back up West Mountain to the top of the Summit, back down Mountain and follow 10K route to finish. All participants will receive a finishing medal!
Runners are set to start the race at the corner of Convention Boulevard and Palm Street in downtown Hot Springs, a city of about 35,000 nestled here in the Ouachita Mountains and named for the numerous hot springs found throughout the area, which have drawn visitors from all walks of life for more than a century.
From there, they’ll head west along Convention and north on Broadway for a brief stretch before turning onto Central Avenue, which will then take the field into Hot Springs National Park, the oldest unit in the National Park Service (it predates the dedication of Yellowstone National Park by about 40 years).
This stretch of the run unfolds past the park’s historic Bathhouse District and then through Whittington Park before heading onto the roads that climb up to the top of West Mountain, a stretch toward the summit that gives the half marathon its name as the “Summit Challenge.”
Once inside the park, runners will climb the summit not once but twice — they’ll reach the top along West Mountain Summit Drive around the half-way point of the race, then descend down the mountain to Prospect Avenue before turning around the head back up the mountain again.
After that, the course heads back down the mountain a second time, with the last couple of miles unfolding along Quapaw Avenue and Market Street before bringing runners in to the finish line along Convention Boulevard.
directions_runStart Address: Hot Springs,us
flagFinish Address: Hot Springs,us
Our host hotel is the Hotel Hot Springs & Spa.
You must be 13 years old to compete without an accompanying, participating adult.
There will be a sports drink station at the turn to go up to the summit. The other stations will serve only water. But this is not your normal, everyday water. This water consists of molecules that contain two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom connected by covalent bonds. Okay – that part is normal. But this water is Mountain Valley Water straight from the thermal fountains of Hot Springs. That’s special.
We give out awards. Really cool awards. We will provide awards to the top 3 finishers for each gender for the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K Run for each age group, as well as for Masters, Grand Masters and Senior divisions. Also awards will be presented to the top 3 finishers for each gender in 10-year age groups for the 5K Walkers. All Half Marathon finishers will receive a commemorative medal.
There is a 3 ½ time limit (7:00 – 10:30 am) for the half marathon course for all participants. If you have not completed the course within this time, you will be moved to the sidewalk to complete the course. This is for your own safety and security on race day. The Hot Springs Police Department may open sections of the course to let vehicles cross when there are large gaps in the participants and it is deemed safe. Participants must maintain at least a 16:00 minute per mile pace to make the course deadline.
Unless this race is way more popular than anticipated, there is ample parking in the Convention Center parking lot which is across the street (Convention Blvd.) from the Embassy Suites.
The races use a disposable timing “chip” that you put on your shoe. The chips make a nice keepsake and do not have to be collected after the race.
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The race information has been found on the official website of the event or through publicly available sources. Always refer to the official website the latest race information. Please let us know if any data is wrong or missing, by emailing us.