Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliary to be beneficiary of fun event
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Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliary to be beneficiary of fun event

Jul 01, 2023

Runners, walkers, pushers of baby strollers and maybe even some dogs will set out at 9 a.m. Oct. 7 from the steps of the state Capitol on Woodlane Avenue in Little Rock.

Some of them will be transiting a 5K course that heads down West Fourth Street to Center Street, Center Street to Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive past Dr. Martin Luther King Drive to Children's Way, passing Arkansas Children's Hospital, onto West 10th Street for a block or so and back to Woodlane, ending back at the Capitol.

Others will take part in a family walk, just under a mile, along West Fourth Street to South Izard Street, two blocks to West Sixth Street and westward back again to the Capitol.

It'll be the fifth year for the Race for a Healthier Tomorrow, a 5K race and family fun run (it skipped a year because of covid-19) raising money for the Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliary.

Co-chairs Jillian Hastings and Maeghan Overley are hoping to raise more than the $45,000 in entry fees and sponsorships the event took in last year. All net funds raised go directly to the hospital to support the Arkansas Children's Research Institute and the hospital's Comfort Foods, Good Mourning and Palliative Care programs.

"It has grown in size every year," Hastings says of the event. "Last year we had 630 participants."

People of any age and physical levels can participate, in person or virtually (essentially, making a direct contribution without having to break an actual sweat). Early-bird registration deadline is Aug. 31; fee for those 13 and older is $25 in-person, $35 virtual (including a medal and a T-shirt of your choosing); $15 for youths 5-12 (includes the medal); free for children 4 and younger. After Aug. 31, the registration fee for all adults is $35. Sign up and get more information at

The event will also feature a kids fun zone with face painting and in-costume characters and food trucks. Overley says other vendors are still in the planning stages; Hastings mentioned that last year's event also featured a display from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and a yoga tent. An emcee will, among other duties, supervise pre-race stretches.

Hastings worked for Children's Hospital until she had a baby in 2016 and has served in the auxiliary since. Overley is a native of Lubbock, Texas, who moved here from New York a little over five years ago when her husband, a spine surgeon, took a job at the University of Arkansas for Medical Services. She joined the auxiliary about three years ago; this is her second event to chair.

"A lot of people form teams," Hastings says. One such supports 7-year-old Addie Grace, whom the website describes as "an ACH Ambassador who loves to raise money for the place that saved her life." Ambassadors are current and former patients, nominated and chosen by hospital staff, board members and volunteers, who agree to share their hospital experiences with the public. Other teams are formed by hospital employees. "Last year we had a lot of those," Hastings says.

Hastings and Overley, in addition to working together on the hospital auxiliary, also work together in their "day" jobs, running a social media management company called Naturally Social. They both have children who are students at Forest Park Elementary School.

Hastings says not all parents of tiny youngsters will be taking part in the Family Fun Run -- last year some of them pushed strollers the 5K length of the full race. None of last year's participants, however, were on leashes.

"I'd love to see some dogs," she adds.

Print Headline: Race open to runners, walkers

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