Overall Rating
Overall Rating (135 Reviews)
4.6
(135 Ratings)  (135 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4.4
Named as one of Runner’s World “Bucket List: 10 Great Marathons for First-Timers” in 2017, come fill your bucket at the 20th Annual Little Rock Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Little Rockers Kids Marathon. A race with personality, loads of southern hospitality, tons of caring volunteers, a running or … MORE
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Recent reviews

    tiffwhit FIRST-TIMER '21

    The chicks definitely deliver! Thus far I have ran 22 races across the country and this was one of the best organized races and did I mention the medals? The … MORE

    The chicks definitely deliver! Thus far I have ran 22 races across the country and this was one of the best organized races and did I mention the medals? The course is moderately challenging. The start and finish line were great, I didn’t mind the modified course, and felt water stops along the way were adequate. To me, the best part of this race was hours after many were finished we walked past the finish line again, to which they were still set up and announcing finishers as they came in. Most races would have torn down and moved on, but not this race, way to support the participants from start to finish!

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    juliehirota FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is a well organized race, with the biggest finisher medal. They pulled together an excellent quality during the pandemic. Absolutely loved it. MORE

    This is a well organized race, with the biggest finisher medal. They pulled together an excellent quality during the pandemic. Absolutely loved it.

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    Tank3872 REPEAT RUNNER '21

    The course changed up this year, spent quite a bit more time and miles in NLR due to the I30 construction going on. We did get lucky that the rain … MORE

    The course changed up this year, spent quite a bit more time and miles in NLR due to the I30 construction going on. We did get lucky that the rain held off, the race itself was good, great spectator support and an interesting course as it went all around downtown NLR and LR. I will tell you the hills in the final 4 miles make it a tougher run, I did however score a PR on this course. The medals are awesome and huge as I’ve come to expect, also the pst race food was really good, only pasta and bananas though, but plenty of beverages available.

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    amy.schaumburg FIRST-TIMER '21

    Great little town. Gigantic medals (really, a bit too big, but memorable), fabulous on-course support including a large number of CLEAN potties at practically every aid station, amazing, friendly folks … MORE

    Great little town. Gigantic medals (really, a bit too big, but memorable), fabulous on-course support including a large number of CLEAN potties at practically every aid station, amazing, friendly folks and an easy walk to start/finish. You hope that city races show you the things that are best about their city and this one did not disappoint. We even saw the governor standing outside the governor’s mansion saying hello to everyone. I mean, how often does that happen!?!?! Moving the race to mid-autumn due to COVID was great as the fall colors were so beautiful and the weather perfection for running. My friend and I loved everything about this race.

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    onepamperedgirl REPEAT RUNNER '21

    If you want the "Bling" then you run Little Rock. This year all of the race courses were changed up due to construction. I actually liked this course better than … MORE

    If you want the “Bling” then you run Little Rock. This year all of the race courses were changed up due to construction. I actually liked this course better than the previous ones. Covid restrictions moved this race from March to November. The rain held off and made for an amazing running day. The expo was smaller this year that it has been in years past but there were numerous races that same weekend. I am already signed up to do it all over again in March!

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    DrewNYC REPEAT RUNNER '21

    This review is from 2021 - the race was run in November this year instead of the normal March weekend. The medals, though, still have the March dates on them. … MORE

    This review is from 2021 – the race was run in November this year instead of the normal March weekend. The medals, though, still have the March dates on them.

    I ran the Little Rock Full Marathon back in 2016. It remains as the LARGEST race medal that I’ve ever received. When it came time to come back to Arkansas to run a half, the choice was easy. I came for the bling!

    I stayed at the host hotel (Marriott). The Convention Center (where the expo is located) is attached to the hotel. The finish line area is also in the Convention Center, so this hotel is very convenient.

    I did the 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday so that I could leave the weekend with 3 medals. The medals are great – even if they are smaller than the full marathon medal.

    Every running of this race has a theme. This year’s theme was “Runderland”. The theme is carried through to the swag, the “decorations” (for lack of a better word) at the expo and throughout the weekend, and to the medal, of course. Additionally, many runners get into the theme and dress up.

    The half course wasn’t very scenic and there were the occasional hills. Running across Broadway Bridge is a high point of the course (figuratively but not literally).

    The finish area had plenty of food and drink options–pasta, bananas, cookies plus chocolate milk, soda, and beer. Food outside of the finish area was a little harder to get. I’m not sure if it is always like this or if it is do to staffing shortages, but lots of restaurants were closed or open limited hours. So there were waits wherever you wanted to go.

    It’s a fun a weekend with great race swag. I highly recommend considering this race for those runners looking to knock Arkansas off their full or half marathon state list.

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    bryantcam41 REPEAT RUNNER '20

    This race has the best Swag in regards to medals. The course is fun. Volunteers do an awesome job with cheering and encouraging. Along this course, you will past the … MORE

    This race has the best Swag in regards to medals. The course is fun. Volunteers do an awesome job with cheering and encouraging. Along this course, you will past the Historic Central High School. If you decide to run this course, please be prepared to put some work in during the second half of the course (Full). Parking is super easy, available and close to the start/finish.

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '20

    BOTTOM LINE: To sum up a terrific Little Rock weekend in one pithy statement, I’d say the medal is large and the Chicks are In Charge. And if I could … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: To sum up a terrific Little Rock weekend in one pithy statement, I’d say the medal is large and the Chicks are In Charge. And if I could earn only one non-virtual marathon medal for all of 2020 (which unexpectedly turned out to be the case), I’m glad I earned it in Little Rock. Arkansas’ capital city may be renowned among marathoners for its intimidatingly large finisher’s medal, but while every race does need something to hang its hat on, the truth is that Little Rock’s appeal goes well beyond the bling.

    I wrote a bit about the city itself in my recap of the Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon, but one of the coolest things about Little Rock is that unlike 3 Bridges, which runs mainly along the tree-lined Arkansas River Trail, the city’s namesake marathon treats its runners to a living, breathing history lesson. The course passes Little Rock Central High School (which in 1957 became the epicenter in the battle for forced desegregation), the State Capitol, the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, the governor’s mansion, and even the Arkansas School for the Deaf with its leopard mascot (hence the deaf leopards, which totally fit with the weekend’s ‘80s theme). As urban marathon courses go, Little Rock is high on the list and particularly among mid-size cities. I’m even willing to forgive the two ho-hum out-and-backs from miles 6–8 and 19–24, since finding 26.2 miles of runnable roads typically requires some ingenuity.

    Oh, and a word of advice for anyone trying to decide between the full and half marathon in Little Rock: if you have the training to run either, this is a no-brainer. Only the 26.2-mile course passes Central High School and the State Capitol… and though you may question the wisdom of your decision in the closing miles, all skepticism will fade once you cross the finish line and get your mitts on the nation’s largest and blingiest medal. Because the only thing worse than FOMO is the actual MO.

    A year later, I admit our Route 66 and Little Rock weekends—separated by just over three months—tend to blend together, forming a memorable mid-size marathon smoothie in my brain. Then again, that’s a compliment to both since each features a festive atmosphere, top-notch organization & competence on the part of the race staff, a comfortable post-race gathering venue, great swag, and a lively Southern host city with its own Hurts Donut shop. And even though Little Rock is a city of bridges, the one brief section of the Route 66 marathon course that actually runs on Route 66 also happens to cross a bridge. So it’s understandable I might mix and match the two races in my head at times (luckily I’m a meticulous note-taker). My recommendation would be that you visit both cities and run each race for yourself to see how they compare through your eyes. The truth is you can’t go wrong with either, and I’d argue you’ll go very right with both.

    As you may expect in Downtown Little Rock there’s no shortage of lodging options, chief among them the uber-convenient Little Rock Marriott, which borders the start & finish line and which shares a building with the Statehouse Convention Center, home to the pre-race expo.

    PRODUCTION: Event Directors Geneva Lamm & Gina Pharis (aka the Chicks In Charge, or CICs) and their team know how to throw a 26.2-mile party and have a fabulous time doing it. Case in point their carefully crafted, always creative event theme (2020’s was “Totally Awesome” ‘80s) which changes annually but which never disappoints, and which the CICs clearly put their heart & soul into bringing to life. Seeing the two of them dancing atop the riser alongside the start line on race day, silhouetted against the rising sun with megaphone in hand, felt like the perfect start to my first and (as it turns out) only marathon of the year. And the two deserved to enjoy the fruits of their year-long labor, as race weekend itself was organizationally flawless, from the high-energy expo to the historic course (see above) to the comfortable post-race celebration inside the Little Rock Marriott where volunteers strolled the room offering exhausted runners hot dogs and breakfast burritos. The indoor venue in particular was a strong finishing touch, since Little Rock weather in early March tends to be less than totally awesome.

    SWAG (5 shoes): Ask any traveling runner about Little Rock, and the first thing you’re likely to hear about is the finisher’s medal. It’s unabashedly ginormous and hefty with plenty of sparkle (see photos), and you can expect a solid core workout if you plan to showcase it proudly around your neck. (Given this year’s “Alice in Wonderland” theme, I hope the CICs model the medal after the White Rabbit’s pocket watch so the post-race gathering resembles a Flavor Flav fan convention.) Each year on the first weekend of March, the Little Rock medal elicits an outpouring of oohs and aahs on social media from amazed/envious/horrified commenters. And I heard several runners admit they opted to run the full marathon rather than the half based simply on the size of the medal, training be damned—because whether you race to collect shiny hardware or do it strictly for the purity of competition, few things trigger such inexplicable FOMO as the Little Rock Marathon medal. Don’t ever let a runner tell you size doesn’t matter.

    Participants also received a short-sleeve race tee that fits nicely and… wait, did I mention the medal?

    For a colorful recap of Little Rock’s “Totally Awesome” ’80s-themed race weekend, including 46 nostalgic song references, check out my blog at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2021/03/22/little-rock-marathon-race-report/

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    seagroves87 Mar 22, 2021 at 4:18am

    Great review! Even though I am more of a half marathoner, this race I am definitely planning to do the full. Initially it was just for the medal but I'm… MORE

    Great review! Even though I am more of a half marathoner, this race I am definitely planning to do the full. Initially it was just for the medal but I'm glad to hear there are extra sights as well to make the extra 13.1 miles even more worth it LESS

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    mazzyoc FIRST-TIMER '20

    - medium sized race - great course through downtown LR and other landmarks around the city - nice mix of flat and hills - finisher medal is ridiculously too big MORE

    – medium sized race
    – great course through downtown LR and other landmarks around the city
    – nice mix of flat and hills
    – finisher medal is ridiculously too big

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    johnisrunning REPEAT RUNNER '20

    So much fun I had to do it again. I took it easy this year. Great expo, got to meet bart yasso this year. Bonus: completed the lrm race series … MORE

    So much fun I had to do it again. I took it easy this year. Great expo, got to meet bart yasso this year. Bonus: completed the lrm race series for extra bling.

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    M_Sohaskey Jul 27, 2020 at 9:02pm

    Seeing Bart this year was definitely a highlight, his energy is contagious. Congrats on LRM Half #2 John, and thanks for your reviews!

    Seeing Bart this year was definitely a highlight, his energy is contagious. Congrats on LRM Half #2 John, and thanks for your reviews!

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    gsitkowski REPEAT RUNNER '20

    This race is fun. The people are friendly. The course takes you through the City of Little Rock. You run by the Clinton Library, the airport and Governor's Mansion. There … MORE

    This race is fun. The people are friendly. The course takes you through the City of Little Rock. You run by the Clinton Library, the airport and Governor’s Mansion. There are people on every corner to cheer you on and provide food and beverage. Overall a Great Experience.

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    cjmaise FIRST-TIMER '20

    Great support and a great challenging, very hilly, course. Best of all, the medal is worth every mile. Will definitely return to do this race again. MORE

    Great support and a great challenging, very hilly, course.
    Best of all, the medal is worth every mile.
    Will definitely return to do this race again.

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    lalawbest REPEAT RUNNER '20

    This is a great race. There is one long hill from about mile 14 to about 17, but most of the course is flat. Most of it is good scenery … MORE

    This is a great race. There is one long hill from about mile 14 to about 17, but most of the course is flat. Most of it is good scenery going past historic sites. I’ve run it about five times and the Governor has been out cheering us on most of those races. Only problem is the weather is very unpredictable in Little Rock. Lots of people cheering you on, good aid stations.

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    adickerson REPEAT RUNNER '20

    Awesomely huge medals. Great aid stations. People all along the course supporting and cheering you on. The finish area is nice. They announced you when you are crossing the finish … MORE

    Awesomely huge medals. Great aid stations. People all along the course supporting and cheering you on. The finish area is nice. They announced you when you are crossing the finish line. There is a bell you get to ring. A place to take your picture when you finish. Lots of goodies for you to choose from a post run drink/snack. Also downtown has thing for your family to do while waiting on you like going to the fabulous Hurts Donuts 🍩

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    LappyRunner FIRST-TIMER '20

    This race is well organized. The Chicks-In-Charge have been doing this for a long time and it shows. It may not be a big deal for many runners but for … MORE

    This race is well organized. The Chicks-In-Charge have been doing this for a long time and it shows. It may not be a big deal for many runners but for a back-of-the-pack runner like me, the toilets are well placed. This means less waiting around for over-used toilets.
    The course had lots to reveal visually in that it started downtown, offered up some beautiful neighborhoods, and passed through a pine-tree lined stretch before ending back at the convention center.
    The course is not packed with spectators but what they lack in numbers they make up for in food (way to go team grilled pineapple!!!).
    Of course, the medals are the reason so many choose this race. I enjoyed the theme and the medal lived up to it’s billing. Thank you Little Rock Marathon for a memorable race!

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    imnumber25 FIRST-TIMER '20

    The medals are awesome as always, The CIC run a great race and you can not ask for The Hobbit to be any better to take care of any needs … MORE

    The medals are awesome as always, The CIC run a great race and you can not ask for The Hobbit to be any better to take care of any needs you have during pre race and race day event. Swag store is well stocked and after race treats are great, Course support is light on the shorter races but is still readily available and can’t be beat for the distance races the next day.

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    mlegall REPEAT RUNNER '20

    Always has a fun theme and new medal, which of course is appropriately sized for a race this epic. Only race I've been to where you finish running inside a … MORE

    Always has a fun theme and new medal, which of course is appropriately sized for a race this epic. Only race I’ve been to where you finish running inside a climate controlled building. If it’s cold outside you can wait inside (a few steps from the start line) until just minutes before the race start. Great affordable city with good breweries. I recommend Lost Forty, Flyway, Diamond Bear and Rebel Kettle. Plus there is a free trolley that will take you around downtown Little Rock and give you a little history on the city!

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    mindylou FIRST-TIMER '20

    The atmosphere was fabulous. The course was really good with nothing to leave you bored. A good mix of flat with hills. Loved the community involvement throughout the entire course. … MORE

    The atmosphere was fabulous. The course was really good with nothing to leave you bored. A good mix of flat with hills. Loved the community involvement throughout the entire course. The hills were challenging but not too horrible. Will be signing up again next year. I stayed at the Marriott it was pretty expensive more than I would have liked to have paid but nice in the fact that I could leave my room and be right where I needed to be and the same when I finished. Overall GREAT experience and excited about n next year.

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    My daughter and I signed up for this race and I didn’t know what to expect. We drove from Chicago, and I must say it was totally worth it! What … MORE

    My daughter and I signed up for this race and I didn’t know what to expect. We drove from Chicago, and I must say it was totally worth it! What a great weekend. The race operations were really smooth. I did my first combo – 10K Saturday and 13.1 on Sunday. There was a large crowd, but it didn’t feel overwhelming. I walked out of my hotel 10 minutes before the race started and was in my corral and ready to go. The race had some really fun stops – an entire cycling glass greeted us at one point! I took a selfie with the Governor of Arkansas in front of his mansion at around mile 10! And the lipstick station at mile 13 was unique.

    Little Rock as a destination was great… everything was so easy to get to and very walkable – we parked our car Friday and it sat until we left Sunday afternoon. We walked and used Lime scooters to get around. The city had great food, shopping and sites!

    We are already talking about bringing friends back for next year!

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '20

    I enjoyed this better than all the other years I’d done it because the weather was good! All the other years were either cold or rainy or both. This one … MORE

    I enjoyed this better than all the other years I’d done it because the weather was good! All the other years were either cold or rainy or both. This one was in the 50s and only rained for maybe 2 minutes. It was an absolutely amazing experience in good weather. They have plenty of port-a-potties and aid and drink stations on the way. There were so many people cheering us on too! I felt so happy and blessed during the race! There was an elderly hearing impaired man doing the race with a walker, as well as visually impaired runners. I say this to point out not only how encouraging these runners are, but also how good the LR marathon is at accommodating for runners/walkers with special needs. Asa Hutchinson was also out saying hi to people outside the governor’s mansion which was cool.

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