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The year isn't over yet, but it is never too early to start looking ahead for savings.

Registration fees are always lower on the first day of registration than the last. Many races that don't take place until March or April have already been accepting registrations.

For instance, The Little Rock Marathon weekend will be March 3 and 4, and its first price increase occurred Oct. 14. The next increase happens Dec. 29. Registration is available at littlerockmarathon.com.

In the spirit of looking forward, the Arkansas chapter of the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) has announced the 2017 Arkansas Grand Prix race lineup. Grand Prix is a yearlong series of road and cross-country races administered by the Arkansas chapter with the goal of highlighting the best footraces across the state.

To enter the Grand Prix, a runner must first belong to one of the Arkansas RRCA running clubs located throughout the state. Then there's a Grand Prix membership fee ($15 for adults, $10 for 18 and younger); and then you pay normal entry fees for each event you enter.

The clubs also compete against one another in the team category.

Runners and clubs accumulate points based on finishing order in each race. Awards are given to top runners and teams at an annual awards ceremony after the series ends.

The 2018 Grand Prix lineup (races in boldface type are championship events offering extra awards): Jan. 21, One Hour Track Run, Pottsville; Feb. 3, River Trail 15K, North Little Rock; Feb. 10, Valentine's Day 5K, Russellville; Feb. 18, Run the Line Half Marathon, Texarkana; March 10, Chase Race 2 Mile, Conway; March 24, Spring Fling 5K, Cabot; April 7, Capital City Classic 10K, Little Rock; April 14, Hogeye Marathon, Fayetteville; May 5, Toad Suck 10K, Conway; June 9, Arkansas Runner 2 Mile, Benton; June 16, Go! Mile, Little Rock; Aug. 4, White River 4 Mile Classic, Batesville; Aug. 11, Watermelon 5K, Hope; Sept. 1, ARK 5K Classic, North Little Rock; Sept. 8, Minuteman Cross Country 5K, Little Rock; Sept. 15, Arkansas 20K, Benton; Sept. 29, The Great 5K Pumpkin Run, Lonoke; Nov. 10, Breakaway 10K, Searcy; Nov. 17, Spa 10K, Hot Springs; Dec. 8, CASA Half Marathon, Pine Bluff.

Obviously, the faster runners have an advantage in the Grand Prix scoring system (see the details in all their complicated glory on the website), but there is a special category for anyone who finishes all 20 races. Those who are able to trudge to the finish line in all 20 races will be rewarded and acknowledged as an Ironman (or Ironwoman) at the awards banquet.

See arkrrca.com.

Little Rock Jingle Bell Run 5K

The 26th annual Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Clinton Presidential Center Park, 1200 President Clinton Ave. in Little Rock.

Leashed dogs and strollers are welcome in the 5K and 1-mile walk.

The Joe Cook Memorial 1-Mile Walk will follow at 11:10 a.m. Kids 12 and under can participate in a short run at 10:40 a.m. with the Arkansas Travelers mascots for $20.

Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes, and there will be a contest starting at 10:30 a.m. for best costume, silliest hat and even for best dog costume.

Awards for the fastest 5K runners and the best fundraisers will be presented at noon.

Online registration is available until 3 p.m. Friday. The 5K and the 1-mile walk cost $35 each. Participants also have the option of registering to jingle in their jammies (as a virtual runner) for $30. Entry fees include an event T-shirt, while supplies last.

Packet pickup will be available from 9 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at the Arthritis Foundation, 10 Corporate Hill Drive, Suite 220 in Little Rock.

Timing chips for the 5K will not be available until race day. Race-day registration and packet pickup will be near the start from 9 to 10:45 a.m.

In Northwest Arkansas, the Jingle Bell Run NWA will happen at 10 a.m. Dec. 9 at Lake Fayetteville Park, 1153 Lake Fayetteville Nature Trail in Springdale.

Details about this event are available on the same website -- jbr.org. Click on the Arkansas map.

Jingle Bell Jog 5K and Reindeer Fun Run

The Jingle Bell Jog 5K will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, 4703 N. Crossover Road, Fayetteville. The Reindeer Fun Run for kids 12 and under will begin at 10 a.m.

The 5K is $30 and the fun run is $15. 5K runners can also sign up as a team of five participants for $100.

The 5K course begins at the botanical garden and is an out-and-back along the Lake Fayetteville Trail.

The kids' Fun Run takes place inside the garden. Ages 4 and under will go a half-mile (four laps) around the Great Lawn circle. Ages 5 and up will complete a one-mile course on the garden's paved and dirt trail. All fun run finishers will receive a medal.

Ugly Christmas sweaters and other festive attire are encouraged. There will be prizes for the best costumes. Participants will have breakfast, and there will be door prizes, music and other festivities for the whole family.

Proceeds support the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks' mission to provide education, entertainment and recreation for the thousands who visit the garden each year.

For registration and more information, visit bgozarks.org and click on "Events."

Hope for the Holiday Half Marathon

Hope for the Holiday Half Marathon and 5K in Memory of Garrett Yeager will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Eagle Mountain Magnet School, 600 Eagle Mountain Blvd. in Batesville.

Online registration is available until 11:59 p.m. Friday. The half marathon costs $45 and the 5K is $25.

Race-day packet pickup and on-site registration will begin at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

Awards will be given overall and by sex and age group. A $100 prize will be awarded to the top male and female finisher.

For registration, visit runsignup.com and search for "Hope for the Holidays."

Please send tips for active recreation to

cbyrd@arkansasonline.com

ActiveStyle on 11/27/2017

Print Headline: 2018 series runs gamut from miler to marathon

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