First Conway marathon ready to soar

The inaugural Soaring Wings Marathon and Half Marathon will take place 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.

Organizers announced last fall their plans to expand the annual Soaring Wings Half Marathon to a full marathon. This year, the event will include the marathon, half marathon and a two-man relay.

More than 1,500 have already registered for the marathon weekend.

The event features a USATF-certified course, which begins and ends at the Conway McGee Center, the location for the half marathon the last seven years.

The Presenting Sponsor for the marathon weekend, which includes the marathon, expo and pasta party, is Crain Automotive. TLC Pediatrics is the sponsor for the half marathon and Kids Run. 501 LIFE is the official media sponsor. Hilton Garden Inn is the official host hotel.

Training programs, sponsored by First Security Bank, kicked off earlier this summer. More than 200 turned out June 27 for The First Mile, the training kickoff celebration. Held at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, the event featured the unveiling of the medals to be presented to participants.

Amanda Castillo and Marla Watson are co-directing the race.

Proceeds support Soaring Wings Ranch, a Christ-centered family and home that provides security, love and hope to children who need a chance.

The staff meets each child where they are and challenges them to develop spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.

Soaring Wings is located on 195 acres in the Holland community, north of Conway. The half marathon has represented the single greatest fundraising event for the ranch.

The slogan for the event and the ranch is “Giving Children A Chance To Soar!”

In addition to the running events, there will be a free expo on Friday, Oct. 23, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. The expo will feature a variety of vendors from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There is also a Kids Run for Kids and a pasta party at 6 p.m. at the expo center. Only 500 tickets to the pasta party will be sold. Packet pickup will also take place during the expo.

According to Marla, organizers plan to incorporate the Kids Run into the expo to create a family event. Registration for the Kids Run is now open.

Amanda explained that for the Kids Half Marathon, youngsters log 12 miles on their own and complete the remaining 1.1 miles with other participants at the Kids Run. The event also features other distances for other ages, with all young people receiving medals.

The half marathon has sold out at 2,000 the last three years and will be capped at that amount again this year. Only 100 teams will be accepted for the relay.

Registration for the full marathon will be limited to 500. The entry fee $105 and $110.

The Conway event will be the 11th marathon in the state and only the third in Central Arkansas. Few are held in the fall.

For more information including the course description or to register, visit