January 6, 2017

Fun Ways to Get Fit as a Family in 2017

When we make those resolutions every year, getting more exercise is often at the top of the list, but why not make a resolution to get fit as a family and have fun doing it? Check out the following opportunities to run, bike, swim and get moving together in Arkansas this year.

Fun Runs for a Cause

Local races abound in Arkansas all year long. It’s easy to get your run on as a family, but some races are family-friendly and raise money for great, local causes.

The Little Rock Marathon is March 4th-5th, but you don’t have to run 26.2 miles on race day to enjoy this event as a family. Kids can participate in the Little Rockers Kids Marathon, a gradual marathon kids run prior to race day. Parents (or groups like schools and churches) help kids log the miles they complete. On race day, kids run the last mile of their marathon and receive their finisher’s medal. The race also offers a full and half marathon, 10K and 5K fun run/walk to fit everyone’s needs and benefits the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department to help them provide fun fitness programs to the area all year long!

The Clinton Hunger Run in Ft. Smith is March 25th. You may register as a family, or separately as adults and children and walk, jog or run the race together. Whichever you choose, you’ll be helping to support the food banks of Van Buren County.

The Child Safety Light Up the Streets Glo Run in Searcy is April 1st. This is a night run through downtown Searcy featuring a glowing 5K and 1K course and runners wear glo necklaces, bracelets and anything else that glows in the dark! Proceeds support the Child Safety Center in Searcy, a local non-profit organization that served over 400 child victims of physical and sexual abuse in White County. Have a glowing good time while supporting an amazing cause!

Those in Northwest Arkansas can get in on the night-time glo run fun in the Children’s Advocacy Center Glo Run April 21st. With a timed 5k run, a fun walk, a super hero dash and glowing support groups, there’s something for everyone in the family while advocating for the children of Benton County.

The Delta Derby 5K is a new race along the Mississippi River and historic old Helena that benefits the Humane Society of the Delta. After the race, you can adopt a rubber duck to compete in the duck derby as over 1,000 ducks race down the river.

Looking ahead to next fall, mark your calendars for the Chile Pepper and the Halloween Monster Dash. Both races are in Fayetteville in October. The Chile Pepper hosts over 6,000 runners and 6,000 spectators and supports local cross country clubs. The Halloween Monster Dash is a costume themed fun run where racers collect candy along the route.

Pedal Together

If running doesn’t sound like something you want to do as a family, put your feet to the pedal and try a few of Arkansas’s biking opportunities.

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Last Weekend Before The Holidays

The Ozark Mountain Bike Festival is March 31st-April 2nd in Devil’s Den State Park. This family bike event has something for everyone with clinics, rides and other bike related activities, with camping available to add to the family fun.

Lake Ft. Smith State Park hosts Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day June 10th. Bring the family and bikes to experience biking the trails around the park.

Up for a Challenge? Why not pedal, swim and run with your family to get fitter in 2017? Rampy Trifest for MS in Bentonville has a dedicated kid’s triathlon as part of the three day Trifest event. This makes it easy for families to train together and then cheer each other on! The Trifest takes place at the end of the summer this year, September 1st-3rd. Splash, pedal and race together!

Fun from a Different Angle

If you’re looking for a little different experience, why not try one of the fishing derbies happening in Arkansas in 2017? Diamond City is hosting a family fishing tournament April 22nd with cash prizes awarded and a free kids fishing derby June 3rd.

Pinnacle Mountain is also holding a kids derby June 3rd and Petit Jean State Park joins in on the fun on June 10th for their Mountain Fishin’ Derby for kids 15 and under. Star City holds their fishing derby for young anglers on August 17th.

Of course, Arkansas is the Natural State, so there are plenty of ways to get outside and get fit as a family this year. Hike in an Arkansas state park or along the Buffalo National River, paddle a canoe or kayak down a river or around a lake, bike one of the many trails, or just enjoy a walk down the street as a family. However you choose to get fit this year, exercising together will make it a fun and memorable 2017!


Photos of the Child Safety Glo Run from the Child Safety Center of White County and used with permission. Photos of Chile Pepper Run are from Debbie Arnold and The New School and used with permission.

Kimberly Mitchell

Arkansas Women Blogger member Kimberly Mitchell is pursuing writing and life in Northwest Arkansas. When she’s not writing or teaching preschool fitness, she’s cheering on the Razorbacks, playing soccer, and dreaming about traveling the world. Follow her on Twitter @KSMitch17 and check out her website kimberlymitchell.us for updates on all of the above.