Runners Celebrate The New Year With A Race And Black Eyed Peas In Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — The start of the new year comes with many traditions and one of those in our part of the country is eating black eyed peas.

“Black eyed peas are just a southern tradition for good luck along with collard greens for wealth and to have it all presented here at the first run of the year. That’s an awesome way to start the new year,” Tonya Weaver said.

Tonya Weaver and Jeff Byrd were among nearly 300 people who ran in the 6th Annual Black Eyed Pea New Year’s Day 5K and 10K Race in Fayetteville.

“Us being runners it’s like no question we are going to be running and so we want to do it for a good cause and we’re part of the Java Joggers running group and so a bunch of our friends came out, so it’s like a family kind of thing,” Byrd said.

The race starts and ends in Doug Allen’s Fayetteville neighborhood.

Once runners cross the finish line, they get to eat black eyed peas.

“It was a grassroots kind of movement about six years ago 50 of us got together and decided to do a New Year’s Day run and it’s kind of just ballooned from there to over 300 plus runners,” Allen said.

Black eyed peas are associated with a mystical and mythical power to bring good luck that dates back as early as 500 A.D.

“We have collard greens and black eyed peas and a little bit of pork and I usually try to talk to all the people I love on New Year’s Day because my grandmother used to say 'whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you’ll do the rest of the year',” Pam Lock said.

If you haven’t had your black eyed peas yet, there is still time to run to the store and hopefully, they won’t be sold out.

“We’re going to go home and have more black eyed peas after this, just for extra measure. You can never have enough good luck,” Byrd said.

Proceeds from Wednesday's (Jan. 1) run will support Fayetteville High School's swim and cross country teams and the Springdale Haas Hall sports booster club.

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