Series History

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The Ridge Rider Athletic Club is an organization that’s purpose is to promote health fitness and competition throughout Northeast Arkansas.  The RRAC organizes daily swim, bicycle, and run workouts as well as competes in various running & cycling activities.

In 2003, there were at most only about 4 quality local running events in Northeast Arkansas. Most of the local events had seen a definite drop in participation. Some running events had dropped to less than 35 participants.  As the season continued, many of the race directors mentioned that they would probably discontinue their events.  If there was not going to be more support, they decided that they would try other ideas as fundraisers.

And, many of the RRAC members were traveling to Memphis or Little Rock on a regular basis to compete in running events.

As I knew most all the race director from my many years of racing in Northeast Arkansas, I meet with them in November of 2003 with the idea of the RRAC Running & Walking Series.  I laid out my plan and asked – more like begged – them to give their events one more year. 

In 2004, the results were a renewed interest in running events and the series thrived with an average of over 100 participants at each event.  The thirteen event series had over 1,368 participants and raised over $20,520 in entry fees alone for the event’s various organizations.  Of those 1368 there were 528 different participants.  Even the RRAC members that usually went out of town, stayed in Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas to participate in “our” events!

The series generated an amazing amount of support for health, fitness and competition from the local community.

In 2005, the series was approached from a member of the local running community about helping to sponsor the series.  Dr. Walter Hayes simply stated that he had participated in 2004 and felt that the series was a great event for NEA, Jonesboro and the running community.  He felt the series was a great opportunity to promote health, wellness and competition in Jonesboro and NEA. The Northeast Arkansas Running & Walking Series is now proudly sponsored by Dr. Walter Hayes foot and ankle specialist.

2005 saw even a bigger resurgence in running and walking.  There were 11 events in 2005. This was 2 events less that 2004.  The change resulted because there were two events that the race committee decided did not live up to the minimum standards expected of the series.  

The 2005 series had a total of 1672 participants, and raised approximately $25,185 in entry fees for the various organizations. 2005 saw 152 per event.  Of the 1672 there were 724 different athletes that participated.

The 2004 and 2005 running & walking series brought 3040 people to Jonesboro to participate.  Many of these athletes were not from Jonesboro.  They came to our community to spend the night, eat and participate because of the quality and standards we held each event to. 

2005 was the first time in my 15 plus years a race director and participant that I witnessed Memphis and Little Rock athletes coming to Jonesboro on a regular basis to compete.

2006 has brought a renewed interested in the running & walking community.  The Series has grown to 17 events.  All but three will be here in Jonesboro.  Also, I have even been approached by 5 other organizations that wanted to be part of the series and should be included in the 2007 series.

I would anticipate even more support from the local runners and walkers and am hoping to see 200 plus participants at most of the events in 2006.  I am hopeful that at the conclusion of the 2006 series, I will be able to report 3400 participants will have competed.  That is more than the first two years combined.

In 2006 we introduced a list of minimum standards for each event to adhere to. We introduced computer timing for every event and we certified each and every course.  We will developed an evaluation tool to ensure each event complied with the series standards.

There were a total of 3367 participants that competed in at least one event in 2006.  The Average attendance was per event was 198. 

There were 1367 different participants in this year’s series.
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         778 or 57% were from Jonesboro
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         512 or 37% were from Arkansas out side of Jonesboro
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         77 or 6% were from out of the state

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       There were 222 Different Female Walkers
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       There were 522 Different Female runners
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       There were 66 Different Male Walkers
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       There were 557 Different Male runners

This totals $50,505.00 from entry fees alone.  As most events profited from this years events and it cost about 3000.00 to put on a race, I am assuming about $4500.00 per event.  That turns into another $76,500.00 in money generated by the series.  Entry Fee plus race expenses and profit equal a total of approximately $127,005.00.

2007 the standards  were updated. We Championchip timed all but three events which brought a scoring standard that will never be repeated.  Championchip timing allowed us to have results and results list nearly instantly at the completion of every event.

There were a total of 2961 participants that competed in at least one event in 2007.  The Average attendance was per event was 185

There were 1234 different participants in this year’s series.
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         620 or 50.% were from Jonesboro
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         614 or 49% were from Arkansas out side of Jonesboro 

This totals $44,400.00 from entry fees alone.  As most events profited from this years events and it cost about 3000.00 to put on a race, I am assuming about $4500.00 per event.  That turns into another $72,000.00 in money generated by the series.  Entry Fee plus race expenses and profit equal a total of approximately $116,400.00.

2008 Series we introduced online registration to our competitors, it was not widely used but we hope to progress soon to 80% online registration in 2009.  We also recognize the top three male and female master runners.  Jim and Tracy got married at event #2 at Arkansas State University in the ice, snow and cold.  We hope to expand our ChampionChip services and add additional equipment after the 08 series.
 
    • There were a total 2313 participants in the 14 events.
    • There were 987 different people that participated in at least one event.
    • 558 people from Jonesboro did at least one event.
    • 429 people from other cities did at least one event.

This totals approximately $3610.00 from the entry fees alone. Based on the above numbers for putting on events the 08 Series generated an estimated $68,000 for Northeast Arkansas

As we approach the 2009 Series, I still hope to see over 200 participants come to each event. We are planning to certify every race course to USATF standards and apply for course certification. We are looking to increase the quality of each event that is part of the series with event directors going above and beyond the minimum race standards.
My focus has and always will be to ensure the highest quality events to be associated with the series.  The RRAC, series race committee, and I, the series director wants to represent Jonesboro and “our” community as well as possible.