Run for a Cause

WORDS Catherine Frederick
IMAGE courtesy Whitney's Race

Walk to End Alzheimer’s
September 16, 2023
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

First held in Fort Smith in 1991, the walk was created to raise awareness about the disease and raise funds for local programs, services, and research. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease.

Participants enjoy local vendor booths and join in for a walk at University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. This event helps families impacted by dementia realize that they aren’t alone, and dollars raised helps to support local programs and services, fund research, and support their free 24/7 Helpline (800.272.8900) that anyone can call to receive confidential support from specialists.

There is no fee to register for the event, but participants are encouraged to raise funds to further research toward methods of prevention, treatment and, ultimately, a cure. Register to
walk at!

Fort Smith Marathon
September 24, 2023
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

Fort Smith Marathon was created in 2015 to bring visitors to our city. This race will challenge you and it takes grit! The start/finish is on the beautiful University of Arkansas-Fort Smith campus. Participants will take a running tour of the city including portions of Chaffee Crossing and Ben Geren trails. The route passes through downtown before looping back to campus.

Currently, there are runners registered from thirteen states and one runner from Australia! The cost to participate is $200 for a relay team, $100 for the marathon, and $75 for the half marathon.  

This year, The Good Samaritan Clinic has been chosen as the beneficiary of the event. The Fort Smith Marathon has also partnered with The Stampede, a 5k/10k race on Saturday. Sign up for both events and receive a discount and a special award! Live on a route? Come out and cheer on the racers or reach out to volunteer! Email for details and register to run at

Paint Chaffee Pink 5k
September 30, 2023
The Vue Venue, Fort Smith 

Statistically, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection is key to survival. Paint Chaffee Pink 5K, currently the only breast cancer awareness and education event in Fort Smith, was created in 2022 to raise money to support breast cancer awareness, education, and services for patients and families through the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House in Fort Smith.

This year the event takes place at The Vue Venue, a former World War II movie theater in the Chaffee Crossing Historic & Entertainment District. Participants will enjoy brunch with the presentation of the flag, singing of the national anthem, and performances by local cheerleaders and dance teams. The River Valley Film Society will present a segment from The Last Drops, a monologue produced by a Russian woman about her fight against breast cancer and special guest speaker, Kathy Milam, CNP, of Mercy Fort Smith Hematology and Oncology, will share pertinent and current information about genetic testing. There will also be door prizes and other special surprises!

Tickets are $25 and are available on or on Paint Chaffee Pink’s Facebook page. All proceeds go to the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House in Fort Smith. In 2022, the Paint Chaffee Pink event raised $10,000 for the house!

Survivors’ Challenge
Saturday October 21, 2023
Donald W Reynolds Cancer Support House, Fort Smith  

The Survivors’ Challenge celebrates its 32nd year and has grown to be one of the largest races in the River Valley featuring a 10K run, 5K run/walk and a Celebration Walk. This family-friendly event starts and ends in front of the Reynolds Cancer Support House where there will be seasoned runners and families all participating together. The course winds through beautiful neighborhoods with a big finish on “Survivor Hill”!

This important event for the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House is not only to raise funds, but also awareness of the many programs and services for cancer patients and their caregivers. Every day, they provide vital services to cancer patients in the community including transportation assistance, nutritional support, emotional support groups, educational classes, wigs/hats/turbans, low-impact exercise classes, activity-based support groups for youth, emergency financial assistance and more.

The cost to participate is $35 for the 10K, $25 for the 5K run/walk, and $20 for the Celebration Walk. Paid registration includes a T-shirt and goody bag! Register at Don’t want to run or walk? Volunteer! Contact Natalie at

Whitney’s Race
October 28, 2023
The Bakery District, Downtown Fort Smith

The Whitney Marsh Foundation was created in 2018, weeks after Fort Smith resident, Whitney Marsh, age 41, passed away from pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer, a top 5 cancer killer in the United States, receives little federal funding. Over 80% of pancreatic cancer patients are detected later, in harder-to-treat stages (Johns Hopkins), which is why the 5-year survival rate stands at only 12% (American Cancer Society).

Whitney was an avid runner, with no cancer history or risk factors. Her family wanted a way to remember who she was and not what cancer made her. Whitney’s Race is an annual 5k/10k that brings our community together to raise funds and honor her memory. This year’s theme is Trick or Trot and is a family-friendly event for runners and non-runners, complete with music, cocktails, food trucks, local business vendors, costume competitions, games, bouncy houses, face painting, and more!

Cost to participate is $30 for the 5k, $40 for the 10k, $20 for supporting spectators with a t-shirt, and $10 for a virtual race if you can’t attend in person. Proceeds benefit Grand Rounds, an oncology program at Mercy Hospital which brings in the best oncologists in the country to speak to local physicians, and supports our preliminary early detection program which provides screening for those below the poverty line, at risk for pancreatic cancer. To become a runner, donor, vendor, or sponsor, visit

Do South Magazine

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