Overall Rating
Overall Rating (6 Reviews)
4.3
(6 Ratings)(6 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4
The 3 Bridges Marathon is a celebration of the three majestic bridges of Central Arkansas: the Big Dam Bridge, the Two Rivers Bridge, and the Clinton Presidential Bridge. The course crosses all three bridges via the Arkansas River Trail. The Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon is almost entirely on the … MORE
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Recent reviews

    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '18

    BOTTOM LINE: Tell me you’re on the hunt for a high-value, low-frills scenic marathon in an underrated city you may not otherwise visit, and I’ll point you straight to the … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Tell me you’re on the hunt for a high-value, low-frills scenic marathon in an underrated city you may not otherwise visit, and I’ll point you straight to the Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon. Jacob was not only the race founder but an avid runner himself, having completed 154 marathons before his premature death in 2014. And though he’s no longer with us in the corporeal sense, 3B26 continues to honor Jacob’s memory as a race put on for runners, by runners.

    The marathon is the only distance offered so the course never feels crowded, and there’s never a point at which tired marathoners suddenly have to merge with half marathoners or 10K runners. And what the race may lack in style — no colorful start-line balloons, live musical entertainment or showy bling — it more than makes up for in substance with a smart & scenic course, enthusiastic volunteers, a high-energy finish-line announcer and an awesome heated tent at the start and finish. Oh, and a friendly neighborhood Santa Claus greets each finisher with a white-gloved high-five. What’s not to love?

    The three bridges — each of which runners cross twice — are the highlights of the race, along with the turnaround at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, which appropriately sits on the opposite side of the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge. (In case you didn’t know already, upon landing at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport you’ll quickly realize that President Clinton hails from Arkansas.). Both the Library/Museum and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitors Center — the latter of which tells the 1957 story of the Little Rock Nine and their battle for desegregation — are worth a visit for anyone with an appreciation of American history. All in all, there’s plenty to do in Little Rock to promise any visitor a full and fulfilling weekend, and 3B26 offers a more low-key option compared to the big-bling block party of the Little Rock Marathon in March.

    For prospective runners, a $15 discount was available on the 3B26 Facebook page for Black Friday, lowering the already reasonable $90 registration fee to $75. Sold!

    PRODUCTION: As mentioned above, 3B26 is clearly a marathon for runners, by runners. The race production itself was nearly flawless, with no superfluous bells and whistles but with plenty of positive vibes and small, professional touches such as race-day packet pickup plus a cozy heated tent (stocked with post-race pizza and drinks) that was large enough to accommodate nearly everyone before and after the race. Genius, that tent. Keep in mind this is a marathon only (no shorter distances), which allows the organizers to focus their efforts exclusively on the 26.2 crowd, from the Green Bay Packers fan I met in mile 13 who was tackling his first marathon to the woman on the morning trolley who was running her 50th. Perhaps ironically for a race that starts with a prayer, 3B26 understands that the devil is in the details.

    SWAG: This was another aspect of the race that underpromised and overdelivered. The long-sleeve gray Sport-Tek shirt is more comfortable than most and sports the colorful green-and-purple 3B26 logo. Meanwhile the finisher medal, which likewise sports the 3B26 logo and which at first glance struck me as basic and lacking in creativity, in fact has an understated yet attractive stained-glass quality that I always appreciate. It’s smartly designed without being showy. Nicely done, 3B26!

    For a more detailed description of race day and things to do in Little Rock, check out my race report at http://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2019/05/09/jacob-wells-3-bridges-marathon-race-report

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    cjgarles FIRST-TIMER '18

    Plenty of aid stations, well organized, enjoyable course and scenery, wonderful people. The food and drink spread both before and after the race were excellent as well. I would definitely … MORE

    Plenty of aid stations, well organized, enjoyable course and scenery, wonderful people. The food and drink spread both before and after the race were excellent as well. I would definitely do this one again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    MarkDClements FIRST-TIMER '18

    Well organized, plenty of volunteers, decent swag, great awards. Warming tent was spot-on, lots of post-race food, very friendly volunteers. MORE

    Well organized, plenty of volunteers, decent swag, great awards.

    Warming tent was spot-on, lots of post-race food, very friendly volunteers.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    misty0475 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I first ran this one in 2015, I have run and will run it in all the following years. The Arkansas River Trail is my absolute favorite place to run. … MORE

    I first ran this one in 2015, I have run and will run it in all the following years. The Arkansas River Trail is my absolute favorite place to run. This is a race for runners by runners, it’s all about conquering the 26.2 nothing more and nothing less. I have run 20+ marathons and my top 3 finish times are all right there at 3B26. It’s a challenging course but you always feel the presence of the running community the whole way! I love this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Dec 18, 2018 at 1:43am

    Well said, Misty! Totally agree with your "for runners by runners" sentiment, and I was fortunate to be able to run 3B26 this year for the first time. The Arkansas… MORE

    Well said, Misty! Totally agree with your "for runners by runners" sentiment, and I was fortunate to be able to run 3B26 this year for the first time. The Arkansas River Trail is so peaceful and scenic, and the views out over the river are well worth the effort, especially from the bridges. Congrats on another 3B26 finish, thanks for the thoughtful review, and keep running strong — I hope to follow your future racing adventures here on the site! LESS

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    Joerobe FIRST-TIMER '17

    Overall Rating: Very good production. Nice trail along the river. Volunteer support was outstanding. Course Difficulty: I'm not sure how to rate this. The trail seemed very easy "aka flat", … MORE

    Overall Rating: Very good production. Nice trail along the river. Volunteer support was outstanding.

    Course Difficulty: I’m not sure how to rate this. The trail seemed very easy “aka flat”, but by the time I finished I was worn out, and fairly slow “ish”. So…the trail was great and didn’t seem difficult, but I wouldn’t go in expecting a PR.

    Course Scenery: Really nice. I took the 5am early start, so I was running toward Little Rock while the city was lit up for Christmas, which was quite nice. I think the trail portion itself would be much prettier with foliage on the trees, but no complaints here. The entire trail followed the river which was great. Very nice scenery.

    Race Production: Good. I was running toward the front of the early pack, and at one time around mile 9 that we thought we were lost…we weren’t…but we did have to take some time to pull up maps on the iphone to be sure. There were several other runners who I passed on the way back who asked if they were going the right direction, so I know this was a weak area for the production team. Not enough for me to ding the production for it though, because we weren’t actually lost. They also had a heated tent at the start/finish line that was the best I have been in…excellent. When I finished the race, there were no other runners around, so I walked over to the shuttle and asked how long until I could get a ride back up the hill…the driver replied “we’re here for you, honey, I can take you now if you’re ready”…so, I got a solo ride in the shuttle bus-Outstanding.

    Race Swag: Good medal and nice long sleeve tech shirt. They also offered previous year(s) long sleeve shirts for $5, so I bought a couple.

    My Performance: It was ok. I was the first one to cross the finish line, and came in first of the early starters, which was good, overall still finished dead center in the pack, I am the true definition of average…oh well, someone has to be in the middle. If you’re looking for a midwest run in December, I can give this one my stamp of approval.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '15

    This was my last marathon of 2015, and I registered kind of late. It was a Saturday race, which is sometimes a little harder to get to, and Little Rock … MORE

    This was my last marathon of 2015, and I registered kind of late. It was a Saturday race, which is sometimes a little harder to get to, and Little Rock was a little expensive to fly into, but it was worth it. There wasn’t really an expo, just packet pick up at a running store (which happened to be next to a grocery store…score!! Race morning breakfast purchases made!). I prefer no expo, so again, this was a good thing in my opinion.

    I stayed at a hotel just a mile or two away from one of the two designated parking spots. This was pretty convenient – no need to worry about getting to the start and parking. Instead, I parked in a large church parking lot and took the bus to the starting area.

    The start was great. It’s the only marathon I’ve run where there was a heated tent for runners to hang out in, which in December, was very nice. They had coffee, water, and snacks pre-race and we only had to walk around the corner to the start. There were plenty of portajohns nearby as well. Definitely one of the best pre race starting areas I’ve experienced. The sunrise was lovely too!

    The start was smooth. The whole course was really nice; I was astounded by the quantity and quality of footpaths by the river. They were asphalt and in great condition, with nice views pretty much the whole time. The last 10k was more in a park with small, rolling hills, but also pleasant. You cross three bridges (hence the name) which meant some incline, and there are a few minor hills during the course as well, but nothing bad in my opinion. The bridges were like milestones, I started looking forward to them because they had nice views and meant we were making progress.

    Aid stations and volunteers were great. It’s not the type of race you run for thousands of cheering people along the course, but it was very pretty and quite enjoyable and I met some cool runners along the route, one of which I ran with for about 16 miles. I tend to prefer scenic over crowd anyway.

    You run back by the finish around mile 20 and cross a bridge that leads into that park area by the river. On the one hand you’re thinking “crap that’s the finish but I’m not done…” but on the other hand it’s a party atmosphere and the announcer calls your name and where you’re from on the PA, so that’s cool. He also says it again as you re-cross the bridge to finish right at about mile 26.1. It didn’t bother me to pass the finish but some people might find it a bit of a bummer.

    The post-race atmosphere was fun and there was a good selection of food and drink. The shuttles back to the parking lots were also great, as they ran pretty frequently right by the finish area, and dropped you off at your lot. From there I only had a mile or two to drive to my hotel.

    The t-shirt was a nice long sleeve tech shirt. The medal was so-so but not bad. The real prize, pun intended’ were the age group awards. I placed in my division and collected a SWEET plaque to hang on my wall. Great swag in my opinion, with minimum hassle and a beautiful, extremely well-organized race.

    Bottom line, if you need Arkansas for your 50 states quest, I HIGHLY recommend this race. It’s one of my favorites, and not just because we had beautiful, sunny, cool weather. It really felt like a marathon for runners, by runners, and it showed with every detail. I don’t anticipate running repeat races if I can help it, but this is one I would consider running again just because I enjoyed it so much.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 03, 2017 at 12:03am

    This sounds excellent Meg, thanks for bringing 3 Bridges to my attention! I get the idea we look for similar things in a marathon, i.e. scenic and low-key with a… MORE

    This sounds excellent Meg, thanks for bringing 3 Bridges to my attention! I get the idea we look for similar things in a marathon, i.e. scenic and low-key with a quick-and-easy expo. And this is a perfect addition to my future races and 50 states wish list, since a) I love running bridges and b) I honestly had no idea about Arkansas. Appreciate the helpful review! LESS

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    RunnerMeg Oct 03, 2017 at 4:04am

    Glad to help. I didn’t want to run Little Rock either (I think those medals are awful, but that’s just my opinion). 3 Bridges was a great alternative and I’m… MORE

    Glad to help. I didn’t want to run Little Rock either (I think those medals are awful, but that’s just my opinion). 3 Bridges was a great alternative and I’m glad I got to run it. LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 03, 2017 at 10:34pm

    Agreed! As a guitar player I'm glad I earned the oversized Mississippi Blues medal... but it doesn't need the competition on my wall. :)

    Agreed! As a guitar player I'm glad I earned the oversized Mississippi Blues medal... but it doesn't need the competition on my wall. :)

     
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