In the midst of massive media marketing for the “first” Little Rock Marathon--to be held this May 4th, here is an account from the Big Shot of another marathon (in a time far removed) once held in Little Rock . Was it an official marathon? You decide.

Feb 20th the La Petite Roche Marathon, Little Rock's First Unofficial Marathon. 7:00 a.m. from Sportstop on Rodney Parham; ends at Mac's Cabin on Lake Norrell- Water, Beer 5 miles. T -shirts to finishers- $5.00 entry. A brunch and transportation will be provided. Register before Tuesday Feb 16th at Sportstop in the Heights. For More info- Gary Smith at 666-1720.

--Race Calendar listing from the February 1982 issue of THE RUNAROUND

From the March 1982, issue of THE RUNAROUND (Little Rock Roadrunner Club newsletter)

The La Petite Roche Marathon race report

By Charley Peyton

On Lawson Road, head down and chin on chest. A pick-up truck slowed and from a rolled down window a long-haired young man asked, "Is this a marathon or something? What's its name? " I replied that it had a funny, little French name but really it was Little Rock's first marathon. "Oh ", he answered and coasted on. I turned, placed my chin securely on my chest again and cog-wheeled up some nameless hill.  I thought to myself, “How do you really pronounce that little French name and why am I here.”

     The La Petite Roche Marathon, Little Rock's first unofficial marathon was possibly Little Rock's finest fun running hour. It was what running is meant to be. The organizers, sponsors, volunteers and runners were greeted by spring like weather that prevailed from start to finish. In case you haven't heard any of the details, let me satisfy your curiosity.. This was a very hard; hilly 26.2 miles that started from the Sportstop on Rodney Parham. At 7:00 am, the gun sounded and the race proceeded through Pleasant Valley for "make-up" miles and then circled back past Rodney Parham and out into the back roads of Pulaski County to Lake Norrell near Benton. Approximately 75 runners and two hours and 57 minutes later Eddie Mulkey, David Norton, Henry Hawk and Randy Taylor tied at the finish.

    No official times were kept at the finish; instead you were greeted by Bob McGowan's cabin on the lake where cool drinks, hot coffee, yogurt, pancakes, eggs and bacon were being served to order. What fellowship.  After R and R, there was transportation back to the starting point.

    Bob McGowan and Steve Tilley who conceived and organized this run are to be commended.  Also all those volunteers who had water stops, cooked and transported and in short gave of themselves so that we could do our thing are to be commended. 

    And yes, if you ran the thing you are too commended, too. The bragging rights are yours. If someone could hammer out those hills it would measure at lease 35 miles. Even though “unofficial”, I’m notching it as a marathon, La Petite Roche Marathon. My T-shirt now.

La Petite Roche Marathon finishers


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