So the Little Rock Marathon is known as a “A race for every pace.” It is also dubbed as one of Runner’s World “Bucket List: 10 Great Marathons for First-Timers.” This race and city is nothing short of southern hospitality, epic blinging finishers medals and tons of cheering fans along the scenic streets of Arkansas’ capital city. No matter if you are a walker or serious elite marathoner, Little Rock Marathon is a race that runners keep coming back for a reason. Check out my race guide of the Little Rock Marathon.
Little Rock Marathon Race Guide
Where to Stay
There are three main hotels I would recommend staying in Little Rock.
- The Capital Hotel is where everyone goes and is also very historic. Their service is exceptional, and most governmental, celebrities and VIP folks stay here.
- Little Rock Marriott is the host hotel of the Little Rock Marathon. It’s connected to the convention center and right outside from the starting line. The hotel puts out fruit and water for the racers and closes to all the major restaurants and tourist attractions.
- Doubletree Hotel Little Rock is where I stayed both times I went to visit Little Rock. I enjoyed my stay and didn’t have any issues. They accommodated for races very well and had a mix of non-races in the hotel. This was a great perk, as I was able to roll out of bed for my races without having to wait for the elevator. My view was the best as I got to see the Riverfront and bridge. They have a shuttle so you can take that to and from the airport if you want.
What to Eat – Dining Places
Runners have to eat so here are a list of places you gotta eat at in Little Rock.
- Arkansas Burger Company: Can’t go wrong with burgers and fries on any day. Get it the Arkansas way.
- Kilwins Company : Ice cream Friday! Local natural ice cream is it!
- Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken: See why I loved them in my Cowtown Race Recap.
- Iriana’s Pizza: This is the most talked about pizza place, and it’s conveniently located across from most of the hotels I discussed. Great pizza before a race.
- One Eleven at the Capital: No matter if you are staying at the Capital or not, you should stop at 111 where it’s chefs are internally known for their ability to combined French influences with local flair. Additionally the Capital is known for it’s Sunday brunch! You know I love a good brunch.
- Kemuri Restaurant: A Japanese restaurant that always has 5 stars for a reason. Great place for great food and service and seafood!
- Vino’s: Your real hole in the wall pizza restaurant that has fantastic pizza, calzones, and beer without all the frills.
Things to See & Do
Anything you want to do in Little Rock is just within a few blocks and also needs to be done by 10 pm. The city is pretty much closed and silent after 10pm. Here are few highlights of stops you should see if you are headed for the Little Rock Marathon.
- Presidential Library: I surprised myself by spending almost 90 minutes in the library reading the work both Bill and Hillary have done over decades. No matter what your political sides are, these two have impacted the entire world, and we have benefited from their policies.
- Little Rock Central High School: This is the famous historical high school whereas the Little Rock Central Nine went to school Arkansas Governor Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to block the black students’ entry into the high school. Later that month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school. You can learn more about this historic moment that took place from Brown vs. Board of Education here. This is a great stop to visit the center and learn and admire this national park.
- Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Little Rock has a lot of lands and luscious grass. This park is excellent for a nice hike with the pets or stay and enjoy a night or two in the wild.
- Little Rock River Market District: This was just a few blocks from my hotel, and I loved going there for fresh fruits and vegetables. There are tons handmade crafts and local concerts. Stop in for juice or
- State Capitol Visits: There are several museums and governmental buildings open for visitation and viewing. From the Old State House to actual State Capital building, schedule a tour and stop by to learn more about the city.
Little Rock Marathon Recap & Tips
Little Rock Marathon is one of the top Marathons in the country. It’s a great race that people go back to each year. It has a race for everyone and very friendly to newbie runners. There is a 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full-marathon. Little Rock is known for it’s large and unique medals. The marathon medal is a huge “dinner plate” size medal. How about that for bling?! Their medals are always gorgeous and vibrant each year. So here is a brief recap of the race and some tips if you are going to run it.
- Crowd Support: Crowd support and sights are nice in the race as you go through the entire city pretty much. The only downfall was not being able to Central High on the half course. However, the full marathon runs through this. There is No shortage of support throughout the course. I had grilled pineapples during the course and boy was that a pickup! I honestly have no issue with this race and would come back repeatedly.
- Course: It is a hilly course so be prepared but a lot of people end up with a PR at this race so don’t shy away from the hills.
- Weather: It can be anything. I got a little bit of everything on race day but it was nice and cool. Expect some ran and temps in 50-60s.
- Finishers Medals: I said this before but I need to say it again, the medals are IT!! Additionally, they offer finishers certificates, which is pretty cool!
- Expo: Expo and finishers items are nice. The expo had great vendors and also themed events during the day to keep you there or at least take pictures of. It’s a lot that goes on at the expo and loads of free items for attendees. I really like the finisher shirts but sizing was weird between the half/marathon shirts and the 5/10k shirts.
- Extras: Please get the VIP/ Race Perks tickets and thank me later!! The private massages and post-race buffet were perfect especially since it was raining during the race. I was able to stay dry, have great food after the race. Additionally, I literally had no line to pickup my checked race bag.
Finally Broke the 3 Hour Mark – My First PR!
I Got My FIRST PR!! I was able to achieve a PR mainly by sticking to the race band and training. The biggest tip is to not over do it in the beginning. The middle of the race has a flatter route so I made up time at this point. The last 1/3 of the race is a continuation of hills so I took it nice and easy on my pace.
Want more? Don’t forget to take a look at the picture gallery at the top of this post. It’s filled with tons of pictures of food, expo and much more!