The Arkansas Ultra Running Association began innocently enough in February of 1989. After a particularly enjoyable run in the country, I felt inspired to tell someone about it. So I wrote a two page letter entitled "The ARKANSAS ULTRA RUNNER", A chronicle of Ultra Running in Central Arkansas. I made copies and sent this to the 9 or 10 runners who regularly showed up for our fun runs. The following month I sent out another and the rest is history. 23 years of monthly newsletters under the benevolent editorship of the Big Shot, my alter ego. In those early years we were a running club in newsletter only. Despite this, lots of things happened. We held fun runs, running camps, pot-lucks and running programs. It was during this time that the Ouachita Trail 50(1989), Arkansas Traveller 100(1991), Ultra Trail Series(1990) and the Midnight 50K(1992) were started and continue, with modifications, to this day.
Several times I was approached by our newsletter readership about making the AURA an official club by affiliating with the Road Runners Club of America. I resisted. My rationale was that with all of our actives, we were drawing volunteers from RRCA running clubs around the state and by becoming an "official" club ourselves we might alienate some of those other club members and lose valuable volunteers. Right or wrong, that was what I thought.
After 10 years of the Arkansas Traveller 100, we were wrung out and it was time to move out of the way. When Stan and Chrissy agreed to be the race directors, I knew that my approach would not work for them. For the AURA to have legitimacy with the "controlling legal authorities" (think US Forest Service, etc.) I began the process of the AURA becoming a member club of the Road Runners Club of America. On June 26th, 2001 we were awarded our RRCA club status. The officers were Stan Ferguson, President, Michael Dupiest, Vice-president, Lou Peyton, Secretary and Charley Peyton, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor.
Under Stan's leadership the AURA has become one of the outstanding running clubs in the State.
Do I miss the old days when we were discovering new trails and forest roads? Certainly! But you adjust to changes and try to make things even better. After all I do have the memories.
Charley Peyton, aka, The Big Shot