SUBMITTED BY PETE JOHNSON
The second running of the Talimena 13.1 Run & Relay is set for April 11, 2015. The race will begin at Janssen Park in Mena, running up Mena Street and over the Talimena Drive to the Queen Wilhelmina State Park. According to Planning Committee member Dale Powell, “this event was a popular run in the late 80’s and into the 90’s, well-known as being one of the most unique runs in the state.”
Powell said, “bringing this race back now has greater purpose as a fund raising event for the Polk County Development Center (PCDC). It features not only a running challenge, but showcases the beauty of the area from Mena and up the Talimena Drive that overlooks some of the most scenic views of National Forest, anywhere, and into the State Park.” The Talimena Drive is a National Scenic Byway extending 54 miles from near Talihina Oklahoma to just north of Mena.
The primary purpose of the event is to support programs for physically and mentally challenged adults and children provided by PCDC. PCDC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves the developmentally disabled in Polk County and the surrounding area. The Talimena 13.1 is part of the annual fundraisers that provide funding for PCDC to maintain, expand, provide resources, and serve their clients.
The Talimena 13.1 Run & Relay features entrants that will run the full ½ marathon, a 13-person team relay, and the addition of a 4-person relay team that replaces the 2-person team category. In last year’s event, the 13-person team relay proved very popular, as well as competitive, as the Sterling Machine Team took home the first place trophy with a time of 2:17:17. Matt Aguero of Shawnee, Oklahoma won the overall individual category with a time of 1:29:54, followed by Tommy Brennan of Poteau. The 2-person relay was captured by April Wurtz and Misty Brown of Little Rock with a time of 2:13:24.
The finish line will be located at the Wonder House on State Park grounds, and while the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge is not available due to the continued renovation, the beauty of the State Park is still an area highlight.
For anyone wanting more information, including details on entering the race, complete information is available on the website: http://talimenarunandrelay.com/ or call PCDC at 479-394-2671. You can also visit their Facebook page by searching for Talimena 13.1. PCDC can be found at www.pcdcmena.com or on Facebook at PCDC-Polk County Developmental Center.