The Hogeye Marathon and a series of shorter races that occur on the same day will start and end in Springdale for the first time next year.
Tyson Foods, Inc. and Hogeye Marathon Race Director Tabby Holmes announced the move from Fayetteville to Springdale today after an agreement was reached that allows the company to serve as the race’s presenting sponsor.
The marathon, as well as a half-marathon, four-person relay race and five-kilometer walk/run and a kids’ marathon will all occur on April 8, starting and ending on Emma Avenue in downtown Springdale. The race traditionally occurs on a Sunday; next year’s race will be on a Saturday.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the Hogeye Marathon to partner with a local company that shares our goal of building a stronger and healthier community,” Holmes said. “We appreciate the support we’ve received from the city of Fayetteville over the years and hope this announcement will build on the strong foundation the marathon has established because of that relationship.”
The 41st Hogeye Marathon is better positioned in the center of Northwest Arkansas, and portions of the 26.2-mile race will occur in Fayetteville, Johnson and Springdale. A small portion of the race will occur on the Razorback Regional Greenway.
“Bringing a high-profile event like the Hogeye Marathon to downtown Springdale is exactly what we envisioned when the revitalization project began,” Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said. “Tabby, the runners and the countless volunteers have successfully turned the race into a nationally recognized event. The Hogeye is the oldest marathon in Arkansas and we hope to build on that legacy.”
In 2016, the marathon enjoyed record turnout as 2,000 runners participated. The Hogeye Marathon and Relays also benefits local nonprofit organizations. About $38,000 was donated last year to America Wheelchair Mission, Kendrick Fincher Hydration for Life, Jackson L. Graves Foundation, Meals on Wheels, Alzheimer’s Association of Arkansas, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Northwest and other community organizations.
“This announcement is just another step toward our goal of bringing people back to Emma Avenue,” said Linda Wray, vice president, talent acquisition and onboarding at Tyson Foods. “There is an exciting future in store for downtown Springdale, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
Tyson Foods demonstrated its commitment to helping Springdale with downtown revitalization by shifting portions of its workforce to Emma Avenue. The first group arrived during the summer when the company completed the renovation of the Tyson Foods JTL Building at 516 E. Emma Ave.
A larger Tyson Foods project is occurring across Emma Avenue where a new two-story building is under construction. Announced in October 2015, the company plans to keep the frontage on the 44,000-square-foot building and indicated they’ll create a workplace for 250 workers to the new location.