is to create a positive impact in the community by providing increased access to health and fitness education and opportunities. We achieve this through our races, outreach programs, and direct giving toward physical education.
It Starts with One StepWHY
We believe that fitness can be fun! We're here to help our community members find joy in movement and prioritize outdoor recreation. Spark encourages you to build the habits for a healthy, active lifestyle. Runners of all ages can get involved through our public races, school running clubs, and community events throughout the year.
Let's Get MovingHOW
Cow Paddy RunSince 2011
Our flagship race, the Cow Paddy Run is what started it all. Our founding board members brought back this Fayetteville-favorite, which originally raised money for infrastructure at Gulley Park in the 1990s. Now hundreds of students, teachers, families, and community members come out rain or shine for the 5K and 1K Fun Run to support health and fitness programs in local schools. Every year, student artwork is selected in the annual t-shirt design contest and schools compete to be the most active through our participation prize. Proceeds over the years have helped establish the Spark Fund through the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation Endowment to support innovative programs around health and fitness education in K-6th classrooms in perpetuity.Learn More
Nutty Runner 5KSince 2018
The newest addition to our annual race series, the Nutty Runner 5K is our version of your typical nonprofit gala. Grown-ups dress up for a cause they care about, enjoy some local craft beverages, and rally together to increase access to health and fitness education and opportunities in Northwest Arkansas. The catch? Attire is running clothes not formal wear and we’re keeping it mission-driven with a 5K run or walk around historic downtown Fayetteville! The spirited cheer stations, hilly course, and finish line atmosphere make for a great celebration as runners and advocates come together for a few of NWA’s favorite things: outdoor recreation, craft beer, and giving back.Learn More
The Hero Half MarathonSince 2014
Created to honor the service and sacrifice of firefighters and first responders, the Hero Half Marathon invites runners from across the country to experience Fayetteville in the fall. The course meanders along the beautiful Razorback Regional Greenway, an extensive paved trail system that connects communities in Northwest Arkansas. Firefighters complete the Firefighter Challenge in full bunker gear—an additional 40-60 lbs of gear, inspiring all to run their best all the way to Dickson Street where runners are greeted with live music and beer garden as part of our Finish Line Festival.
In 2018, we added our 15-week Training Program that prepares beginner and intermediate runners for race day as well as a 2-person relay that gives friends and families a way to split the distance. In 2019, we added a 5K and One Mile Fun Run so that no matter where you are on your running journey, you can join in to celebrate. The race is produced in partnership with IAFF Local 2866, and the Fayetteville Fire Department hosts its annual Family Fire Safety Fair, too!Learn More
Our Board of Directors and StaffWHO