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Get ready, set and go! David’s Trail Endurance Run set to start Saturday morning

Runners! The big day is almost here!

The David’s Trail Endurance Run is officially kicking off tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Running fans will compete in a 7k run, a 25k run, and a 50k run before finishing off the evening with pizza, beer, and live music by the Mellow Mountain Band at the Rocking Chair Resort by Norfork Lake.

“This is the seventh annual David’s Trail Endurance Run,” said Paul Gigliotti, race organizer, and owner of Pirate Perry Events. “The venue is at Rocking Chair Resort, so everything is out near Robinson Point. The whole David’s Trail itself follows the contours of the lake.”

David’s Trail was created in honor of David Floyd and his contributions to the Ozark areas. The trail, which follows the contour of Norfork Lake, is currently being expanded through the Trans Ozark Trail project, which seeks to connect trails from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to St. Louis, Missouri.

Once completed, the connected trails would cover nearly 700 miles worth of land. The project is being overseen by the Ozark Trail Association and Ozark Highlands Trail Association.

David’s Trail Endurance Run is broken down into seven phases. Phase 1 sees runners compete in a 7k race that starts at 8 a.m. at Rocking Chair Resort. All runners, including those participating in the 25k and 50k races, will finish the 7k loop before moving on to the next part of their race.

Phase 2 sees runners in the 25k and 50k races head to Panther Bay. Runners in the 25k will then head back to the finish line at Rocking Chair Resort. Those competing in the 50k will carry on past the bay to Phase 3, which will run across the 101 Bridge, before turning around again to complete Phase 4 by returning to Panther Bay.

Phase 5 will have the 50k runners return to Rocking Chair Resort. All runners must finish their race before 5 p.m.

“The 50k is one of the most challenging races in Arkansas,” Anderson said. “Mainly because the trail hugs the shore of Lake Norfork. It’s constantly going down to around lake level and then climbing to the ridges along the shore. We use the phrase ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ It’s no single big climb. It’s just climb after climb. It’s relentless.”

Around 350 runners will be competing across all three races. The 25k race is expected to have the most runners.  

Papa John’s will be providing pizza for runners and guests in attendance, and Norfork Brewing Company will provide drinks. The Mellow Mountain Band will play music as runners compete for the top spot throughout the day.

Unlike previous years, there won’t be a payout to those that beat each race’s current record. The David’s Trail Endurance Run is one of the only races in the United States to pay both men and women equally for beating the race’s respective records.

“People like it. They love hanging out,” Gigliotti said. “The years that the weather is nice, people will sit out all day long and watch runners come in. As a runner myself, it kind of means more or as much to have my fellow runners out there clapping for me when I cross the finish line. They know my pain. It’s cool. People like watching their friends come in. They like being watched come in and they’re sitting there with a beer and a pizza in their hands, and they get excited.”

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