Running Program Celebrates 20 Years Of Bringing Women Together

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- As many people are working towards healthier lifestyles a group in our area, Women Run Arkansas is celebrating 20 years of helping women in our state learn more about walking and running.

"I think it's just a good program to be apart of that binds friendships and that keeps you motivated," group leader, Stephanie Clack said. "The support teams are awesome and everyone is so supportive and encouraging and that feels good."

Hundreds of women train together for 10 weeks. After that, they participate in a 5K run with groups from all over Arkansas.

"I think it's fantastic," co-director Leslie Bagby said. "I think that Fort Smith is really embracing healthy lifestyles. I think people are really realizing how much Fort Smith has to offer with trails, the runs, the races. This is just one way for women to get together and learn things about running and walking that they would not know otherwise."

Clack started the clinic as a participant, but is now a leader. She said the clinic motivated her to keep running even after the 10 weeks.

"Since last year's clinic, I have run five half-marathons and two marathons," Clack said. "I never went past three miles this time last year. That was a goal of mine that ended up compounding."

Aside from the 5K fee, the clinic is free.

"We love what we do," Clack said. "We love getting out and walking and running. To offer a free clinic like this that would encourage somebody else to love what we love, it's inspiring."

Those with the program said no matter what age or fitness level, everyone is welcome, including men.

"There's a group for everybody," Bagby said. "It's all ages, sizes, levels of fitness. We have beginner runners and walkers, we have advanced runners. We just have every category and it's just a great way to get fit, get healthy, and make friends. It's just a really great opportunity."

Registration for Women Run Arkansas is still open.

For more information, visit the Women Run Arkansas website.