Our Programs

Let's Get Moving!

We serve our community through programs that get you, your family, and friends on your feet!

Registration is officially open for our 2020 races. This year's line-up:

  • Nutty Runner 5K on March 14

  • Cow Paddy Run on April 11

  • Hero Half Marathon on October 25


Cow Paddy Run

Get ready for family-friendly fun on the run at the Cow Paddy Run at Gully Park! This is one of the oldest group races in Fayetteville and was started to promote education and active lifestyles back in the 1980s. The Spark Foundation revived this run in 2011 as part of our mission to create fun and accessible opportunities for physical activity in our community.

There’s a 5K for adults and older kids and a 1K Fun Run for the little ones. Don’t worry though, because there aren’t any real cow paddies to avoid. The name is just part of the tradition of this race, which has played a big part in developing Fayetteville’s pro-fitness, pro-fun culture over the years!

Proceeds go to the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation and Spark’s outreach programs, both of which support innovative education projects in our local schools.

Click here for more information and to register.

Nutty Runner 5K

If you enjoy craft beer and exercising outdoors for a good cause, the Nutty Runner 5K is for you! At every mile, runners can enjoy a pint of Nutty Runner nut-brown ale courtesy of Columbus House Brewery – one of Fayetteville’s favorite local hangs.

Out of all the runs in Fayetteville, this one may be the “most” Fayetteville! The route will wind through our fair city’s historic downtown and into some of our most scenic neighborhoods. So, a word of warning – there will be hills. But just follow the Nutty Runner race mantra and put “mind over hangover” and you’ll be just fine.

For the more cautious souls who don’t feel the need to drink and run, there’s the Designated Driver division. But however you choose to participate, there will be additional beer, shirts, and merch available for purchase during the post-race festivities. It’s a guaranteed good time for all.

Click here for more information and to register.

Hero Half Marathon

The Hero Half Marathon is a fundraising race and community event hosted by Spark Foundation in partnership with the Fayetteville Firefighters’ IAFF – Local 2866.

This scenic, chip-timed, point-to-point race originates at beautiful Lake Fayetteville. Runners wind their way through the green heart of this charming college town on extensive paved, multi-use trails that make up part of the Razorback Regional Greenway, a world-class trail system linking six communities. Racers will experience a safe, fun, well-marked, well-supported race that culminates with a sneaky hill in the last mile.

The race finishes in historic downtown Fayetteville where participants will be greeted with a festival-like atmosphere that includes music, food, the Columbus House Brewery beer garden, local vendors, sponsor booths, and activities for children. The race coincides with Fire Safety Awareness week and includes a 9/11 Memorial to commemorate the sacrifices made then and now by firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders.

Click here for more information and to register.

School Running Clubs

Spark sponsors running clubs in several elementary and middle schools in Fayetteville, Arkansas. With these running clubs, we provide education about health and fitness as well as training students for ours and other local races.

Depending on each school's needs, we provide a variety of support including healthy snacks, curriculum, coaches, and water bottles in addition to making scholarships available for students in need who want to compete in local fun runs and 5ks.

Spark Obstacle Course

The Spark Obstacle Course is a fun way for families to get moving in our community outside of our races and running clubs.

You may have seen us at the Apple Seeds Annual Family Picnic, National Night Out, Fayetteville Public School Health initiatives. We love working with partner organizations to provide a quick and easy way to be active together.

Kids Virtual Race Series

In the summer of 2020, we launched a our Spark Kids Virtual Race Series to keep families active during summer break while practicing social distancing. No registration is required for the free events and kids can run anytime during the weekend of the scheduled race.

Parents can download and print a race bib for their runners as well as a medal for the 1 mile, 2 mile and 3 mile race that athletes can use their creativity to decorate. Families are encouraged to share photos/videos of their runners on social media so we can help celebrate their accomplishments.