Giving back to the community is a point of pride for Little Rock Athletics, who continued their efforts by hosting their annual aid station during the Little Rock Marathon on March 5.
In support of Little Rock’s largest sporting event, members of Little Rock Athletics volunteered to provide water and Gatorade to the participants as they passed by.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with the organizers of the Little Rock Marathon and volunteer on race day,” said Darius Maize, deputy athletic director for internal operations and special projects. “As Little Rock’s Team, it’s essential that we find ways to get out and support the community. Our student athletes enjoy providing encouragement and support to the participants each year too.”
Dr. Katie Helms, associate professor of sports management, was the pace group leader for the 3 hour, 55 minute finish time. As an on-course race representative, her job was to set a pace for other runners to follow. As a participant who had run the Little Rock Marathon over 10 times, she looked forward to seeing the Trojan aid station during the event.
“I knew it would be full of good support and crowd energy, because they know how important that is to other athletes,” Helms said. “I also knew that I would see some friendly and familiar faces there, which always gives me a boost!”
Aid stations are essential safety checkpoints in large events like the Little Rock marathon. The volunteers have instructions from race officials regarding procedures in a variety of scenarios, including a health or weather emergency. They also provide important front-line customer service by answering questions and problem-solving during the event.
“They give as much energy as they can back to the runners, and this aspect is invaluable for athlete support,” Helms said. “I can tell you that aid station personnel are the hardest working volunteers on the course.”
As part of the sport tourism industry, the Little Rock Marathon is an important way for Little Rock to showcase itself to the rest of the country. Not only does it promote the city, but it encourages residents of the state to join in the fun and be healthy.
“I’m happy that the race participants, whether they were local or from other parts of the country, got to experience who ‘Little Rock’s Team’ is,” Helms said.