Frequently Asked Questions




When is the Cow Paddy?

The 2020 Cow Paddy Run is on Saturday, April 11. The 1K starts at 4:00 pm and the 5K and 10K start at 4:30 pm.

Who produces the Cow Paddy Run?

The Spark Foundation is a nonprofit organization that strives to create a positive impact in the community by providing increased access to health and fitness education and opportunities. In addition to our annual race series, the Spark Foundation supports running clubs in local schools through coaching, curriculum, and healthy snacks. The Spark Foundation supports pioneering projects around health and fitness through its keystone fund with Fayetteville Public Education Foundation as well as mini grants for area schools and clubs. When you run, remember that you are helping NWA to build the habits for an active, healthy lifestyle!

Will I be able to receive a refund or transfer my race registration if I’m unable to participate in the Cow Paddy Run?

We follow the standard running industry. All entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

I am a very slow runner/walker. Will I feel out of place?

You won’t feel out of place at all! Our races are planned for participants of all ages, paces, and abilities.

Are there any training groups?

Several elementary and middle schools have running clubs that focus on preparing for the annual Cow Paddy Run. Contact your child’s school to see if these are active. If not, reach out to Mary Flannery at outreach@mysparkfoundation.org to get one started.

If you are looking for adult running groups in the area, we highly recommend Ozark Trail Running Club, The Mustache Running Club, and Columbus House Brewery Running Club.

Will there be pace groups at this race?

We will not have pace groups for any of the distances.

Is there a time limit for the course?

Yes, there is a 20-minute limit for the 1K, a 60-minute limit for the 5K, and a 100-minute limit for the 10K.

Will the course have a “sweeper”?

Yes, we will have a runner or cyclist making sure that everyone stays safe and finishes.

Can I wear headphones?

Yes, but we ask that you keep the volume down at a safe level so that you can hear other runners or instructions from event personnel.

Can I bring my dog or run with a stroller?

Of course! Trained, well-behaved pups are welcome. Just be sure to keep your furry friends on a non-retractable leash of 5 feet or less and that you bring appropriate supplies to clean up after them. We also ask that anyone running with dogs or strollers start near the back of the pack for the safety of all runners.

Can someone else pick up my packet for me?

Yes, in order for someone else can pick up your packet for you, they must show proof of your race registration. If you are a local running club coach and need to pick up packets for a group, please contact Melissa at director@mysparkfoundation.org by April 3, 2020.

Are there bathrooms on the course?

There will be an ample amount of port-a-potties at the start/finish lines; however, they will not be available on the 1K, 5K, or 10K courses. The 10K will be passing back by the start/finish area if necessary. There are also limited park restrooms.

Will there be age group awards?

Yes, we will have USATF standard 5-year age group awards for the 5K and 10K (with some additional younger age groups for the 5K).

We will do modified two-year age groups to the top male and female ages 4 and under, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12 for the 1K.

When and where should I pick up my race packet?

Packet Pickup will be held at the Spark Foundation office located at Mount Sequoyah Center. It will be held from 2:00 - 6:00 pm on Friday, April 10. This is your last chance to register (there will not be race day registration).

Does the race have a gear-check?

There is no gear check available for the Cow Paddy Run. We suggest leaving items in your locked car or with friends and family that are spectating.

Where should I park the day of the race?

There are several paved and grass lots at Gulley Park that you may use. Our parking attendants will be there to assist you.

There is a large parking lot on the west side of Gulley Park (off Old Wire) as well as a smaller parking lot on the south side (off Township). When these parking spaces are full, we recommend that runners park on the street in the surrounding neighborhoods. Sequoyah Methodist, Church of Christ, and Parkside Preschool have also generously allowed the use of their parking lots. If you park in other church lots or businesses, you may be towed.

I’m traveling from out of town for the race. Where should I stay?

The Fayetteville Visitor’s Bureau, Experience Fayetteville, has great information on area hotels. We highly recommend Graduate Fayetteville, which is on the historic downtown square.

How can I volunteer to help out during the race?

Thank you for volunteering to support our runners and The Spark Foundation. Click here to volunteer. For more information, please email contact@mysparkfoundation.org.

Where will race results be posed?

Race results will be posted on the website and in the Facebook event.

How can I stay up to date with race information?

Follow us on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

We particularly recommend marking that you are “Going” on our Facebook event.

If I registered to run this year and then find out I can’t run this year, can I transfer my registration to next year?

No, race registrations may not be transferred to future Spark Foundation races.

Is the course USATF certified?

No, the course is not USATF certified.

What kind of course support do you offer?

The 5K and 10K course has one cheer/water/aid station that you will pass twice for the 5K or four times for the 10K. The 1K does not have an aid station. Local organizations join us along the course to cheer as well.

Can my child run alone?

We highly encourage you to register and run with your children. As parents, you know best if your child ten years of age or older is ready to run on their own.

Remember this is a BIG event with lots of runners and volunteers at Gulley Park. Please be sure to discuss your family's plan for the day before you arrive.

Can my family and friends meet me at the finish line?

We encourage family and friends to join you for race day.

What happens if it’s raining on the day of the race?

The Cow Paddy Run is rain or shine! In the event of extreme weather (i.e. lightning), we will make the safest decision regarding delay or cancellation. Please note that the race registration fee is nonrefundable even if the race is modified or cancelled. For any further questions, please contact the race director at director@mysparkfoundation.org

Who should I contact if the answer to my question isn’t listed here?

Please email us at contact@mysparkfoundation.org.

I saw photographers on the course. Can I view and purchase my race photos?

Yes, we are so grateful to Stephen Ironside donating his time and talent each year.

Stephen is currently updating his website galleries so that you can view and purchase past years' photos. In the meantime, please check out our Facebook page and Instagram account to look at the last 10 years of races!