The First Ever Second Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K race has leapfrogged over St. Paddy’s Day and sprinted to a new date: May 30. And it will be held in conjunction with the world-famous Stueart Pennington Running World Championship Of The Tubs bathtub races on Bathhouse Row in downtown Hot Springs.
The Zero K is a 250-foot race featuring three heats: One for runners who want to see how fast they can complete the course; one for runners in costume, and the third for determining the slowest participant to cover the course.
The race will begin at 11 a.m. in Hill Wheatley Plaza, which is the southern terminus of the bathtub races.
“After an unprecedented turnout for the First Ever First Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K race last March, Visit Hot Springs and Tri-Lakes CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocates] knew they had started a new tradition,” said Lindsay Mulkey, executive director of Tri-Lakes CASA. “In fact, last year’s Zero K was a sellout. We had to cut off registration at 460 entrants because that exhausted our supply of T-shirts and medals for the participants.”
“This year, there is a slight change to the festivities,” Mulkey said. “We’re moving the Zero K to May 30, and it will be held immediately after The Running Of The Tubs.”
“We needed to move the Zero K away from its connection to the First Ever 17th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year because of logistics problems,” said Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs. “St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, and we know it would be inconvenient for the Zero K participants to take off from work or classes to take part in a mid-week Zero K.
“We couldn’t hold the Zero K on a weekend because the State High School Basketball Championships will be taking place at the Bank OZK Arena at that time, and rerouting traffic for the race would create insurmountable problems for basketball fans.
“So we decided the best solution would be to link the Zero K to The Running Of The Tub. The Zero K is a great match for The Running of the Tubs. We get two comedic competitive events complete with costumes, libations and water balloons all in the heart of historic downtown Hot Springs National Park.
“We also shortened the course from 299 feet to 250 feet to make it less strenuous for the runners.
“There is the possibility the Zero K will shift back to coincide with future St. Patrick’s Parades, depending on the calendar.”
“The Zero K exceeded all expectations last year,” Mulkey said. “We had entrants from 11 states, including Wisconsin, Florida, Kansas and Texas. We are so excited to team up with another amazing Visit Hot Springs event, The World Championship Running of the Tubs.”
The First Ever Second Annual Second Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K will be held at Hill Wheatley Plaza, 629 Central, with the starting line at the Visitor’s Center. Proceeds will benefit Tri-Lakes CASA, an organization comprised of volunteer advocates that represent foster children.
Runners will travel a strenuous 250 feet (with a hydration station at the halfway mark) and receive a T-shirt and medal at the finish line. This year’s Zero K will again feature three heats:
• First Heat: This heat is all about speed! Runners will keep their own times, and attempt to break the “world record.”
• Second Heat: The costume heat. Runners are encouraged to dress up in their favorite retro gear or in their best lake day attire and run.
• Third Heat: The final heat is for the slowest racer. The last runner to cross the finish line — while maintaining forward motion at all times — wins.
“We originally intended the third heat to be for young children or individuals with pets,” Mulkey said, “but this heat became a great event for a girl’s night out, cancer survivors and individuals who have faced health challenges.
“Last year, we had multiple people share their stories about why they had signed up for the Zero K. One man called to thank us for giving him the opportunity to race again after an accident had left him wheelchair-bound. I think we were all surprised at the response to the race, and the inclusivity that it brought about.”
To register for the First Ever Second Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Zero K visit the Zero K Registration Page or call 501-321-9269.
For more information call Bill Solleder at 501-321-2027.