Runners Complete Life Challenge at Running Festival

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Runners flooded Downtown Bentonville to take on the 5K, Half Marathon and Fun Run in the 3rd annual Bentonville Running Festival.

Mayor Bob McCaslin kicked off the festival with a gun shot after the National Anthem.

Steve Cox said he decided to change his lifestyle and run in the half-marathon when he weighed 270 pounds around Thanksgiving.

Cox is the Director of Economic Development for the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce.

"On December 1st could barely get to a mile but here we are and I'm going to keep going," Cox said. "In the course of it I lost 40 to 45 pounds."

Cox is one of more than 3,000 runners from around 30 states to participate this year.

"It's been a good journey and I definitely don't want to stop here," said Cox.

Shedding pounds is a motivations for some, but for others like Joseph Lyon it's an expression of life.

"You appreciate the moments you have outdoors," Lyon said. "You learn to love the opportunities you have in front of you."

Lyon said he had pilonidal cystand could barely walk after he recently underwent surgery. This is his first time participating in a half marathon.

"I just had to build the endurance," Lyon said. "A lot of it is mental anybody can carry themselves, it's about staying positive and in the moment."

The festival attracted people of all training levels and ages. Four year old Nicholas Davis ran alongside his mom Vanessa and received a medal at the finish line.

"It was great," said Vanessa Davis. "It was a little bit slow at first but at the end he really picked up and had a great time."

Runners young at heart like Cheryl Shores said she can scratch off running in her bucket list.

"I didn't start running half marathons and marathons until I turned 49 and I'm 55 now," Shores said.

"I've seen people 65-70 that are still running and say 'I hope I can still run at age,'" she said.

Shores came from Lockwood, Missouri and dedicated the race to some special in her life.

"My mom passed away in January so this one is for her," Shores said.

The race doesn't stop in Bentonville for the runners who shared their journey with 5NEWS. Cox said he will continue to lose the weight and Shores said she has five marathons in the next two months.

Proceeds from the running festival help the Bentonville Parks and Recreation Department pay for numerous events throughout the year.