Training programs to kick off for Soaring Wings Marathon

by Sonja J. Keith

Training programs will kick off soon for the upcoming Soaring Wings Marathon and Half-Marathon scheduled this fall.

The First Mile Kickoff will be 8 a.m. Saturday, July 9, at Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center.

“Kick off your season with a fun run 5K for half marathoners or 10K for marathoners!” said co-race director Amanda Castillo. “For only $15, participants will get their choice of a training tank or short sleeve tee, entry to the First Mile event to kick off the training season, and the complete training for the marathon (16 weeks) or half marathon (12 weeks!)”

This is the second year for First Security Bank to sponsor the training. “A big thank you to First Security Bank, our official training sponsor!”

The deadline to register and receive a shirt is Saturday, June 25. Shirts are pre-order. To register, visit

Marathon training begins Saturday, July 16, with the first session of the half marathon training on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Registration is open for the Soaring Wings Marathon and Half Marathon, which will take place 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, in Conway.

Last year, the annual Soaring Wings Half Marathon was expanded to a full marathon. This year, the event will once again include the marathon, half marathon and a two-man relay.
Approximately 2,000 registered last year 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 eight years.

The Presenting Sponsor for the marathon weekend, which includes the marathon and expo, is Crain Automotive. TLC Pediatrics is the sponsor for the half marathon and Kids Run. 501 LIFE is the official media sponsor.

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. 28, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. The expo will feature a variety of vendors from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Packet pickup will also take place during the expo.

There is also a Kids Run for Kids at 5 p.m. at the expo center. 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 will be capped at 2,000 participants. Only 100 teams will be accepted for the relay. Registration for the full marathon will be limited to 500.

The event also features Winged Warriors, participants who raise money for the ranch while participating in the race. Registration for Winged Warriors is also open.  

The perks for this year’s Winged Warriors:

$100 – Singlet, wings pin to add to medal

$300 – Free entry to the race (deadline is Sept 1), VIP status

$500 – New Balance Winged Warrior Half Zip (WW wings on back)

$1,000 – Garmin

The top fundraiser will receive free Soaring Wings entry next year plus $100 to spend at the SW Expo.

Training programs for the marathon will kick off this summer at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center.

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