For that handful of intrepid runners who tackle the challenging half marathon, organizers of this year’s Stars, Stripes & Steps are excited to announce the return of the secret staircase, the Grandstone Windmill Wobble, which is on private land and only accessible to the half-marathoners.
HOT SPRINGS – Registration is open for the 9th Annual Stars, Stripes & Steps stairclimbing race, to be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, and Challenge Dakota wants you to know about some changes this year and encourage you to sign up as soon as possible to help plan for another rewarding event. The race offers three options: 2 Mile, 5K and half-marathon. The shorter options are walker-friendly; more participants walk than run. The half-marathon is very challenging and only for runners. There are several things to know about this year’s event.
First, Challenge is aware of the rough condition of Chapel Charge and Castle Crunch staircases. These staircases are deteriorating rapidly due to age; even repairs made two years ago are crumbling. However, Jeff Temple at the City of Hot Springs has assured them that the City plans to make repairs before the event.
“This is great news,” explained Dusty Pence, Challenge President, “but we need to work with the City and other community groups to develop a long term plan for maintenance and improvements to the staircases. If you are interested in being part of that planning process, please contact Challenge. It is part of our mission to preserve our historic staircases.”
Second, road construction will be heavy in the core race area centered around River Street. Organizers hope to use the usual route, but given the constant change in the construction activity, everyone will have to be flexible to the last minute and cautious of obstructions and rough surfaces.
Third, for that handful of intrepid runners who tackle the challenging half marathon, organizers are excited to announce the return of the secret staircase, the Grandstone Windmill Wobble, which is on private land and only accessible to the half-marathoners. Runners were unable to use that exceptionally beautiful and unique staircase in 2022, due to highway construction. Thanks to the highway changes, there is now sidewalk along the route all the way to city limits—no more runners dodging cars in the parking lots along Chicago. And a reminder also that the half-marathon will start at 10 am this year, while the 5K and 2 Mile events will start, as usual, at 11 am.
“This means all the runners will be finishing up by or before 1:00,” Pence explained, “so it won’t be such a long wait for the award ceremony.”
Last but not least, the Kid Zone will be back. As in recent years, this includes the popular Mammoth Site Science Zone, Mammoth Mini Golf and Boys & Girls Club games. There will not be a band this year, but there will be music playing and you can even send song requests in advance! Sweet & Sassy will be offering lunches. If you would like to add your own activity to the event, please contact Challenge—they would love a local musician jam session and are always eager to hear new ideas.