Soaring Wings race fees set to increase Sept. 2

While organizers continue to make preparations, runners are training and getting their registration in for the Soaring Wings of Conway marathon and half marathon.

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 beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at Conway’s McGee Center, which has been the location for the half marathon the last seven years. Events begin and end at the McGee Center. The event features a USATF-certified course.

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

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

“Training is going great!” said Amanda. “Marathoners are in week No. 8 and half-marathoners week No. 4. Both groups are building mileage and are definitely getting stronger. The marathon group has almost run the entire course and has trained on the dreaded hill at mile 18.

“On Saturdays, there are over 100 individuals pounding the pavement and it is amazing to watch everyone take off. So many first-timers running the longest they have ever run each week. Love it!”

Registration for the marathon is 75 percent full and the half marathon is increasing as well, according to Amanda.

Registration for the full marathon will be limited to 500. The entry fee is $95 for online and $100 for mail-in through Sept. 1. Beginning Sept. 2, the entry fee is $105 and $110.
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. First Security Bank is the training sponsor.

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, Kids Run for Kids, and a pasta party 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., with the pasta party at 6 p.m. 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.

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 or to register, visit