GREENBRIER -- Residents from across central Arkansas gathered in Greenbrier on Saturday morning despite the rainfall to take part in the fifth annual Moustache Dash.
The Moustache Dash grew into the annual Mayor's 107+ Challenge one year after the challenge was instated. Since then, the event has continued to grow, Greenbrier City Event Center Executive Director Shellie O'Quinn told the Log Cabin Democrat.
The Mayor's Challenge initially focused on encouraging city employees to get healthier but shifted that emphasis to incorporate all city residents, and more. Despite a rainy forecast, runners from across central Arkansas gathered in the heart of Greenbrier on Saturday to venture into the morning drizzle for the fifth annual Moustache Dash.
Long-bearded men, those with twirled mustaches, mothers with strollers, friends encouraging each other and a handful of others lined up along Business Park Drive and took off along their 5K track as O'Quinn sounded the starting horn.
The rains subsided for most of the race.
Thirty-two runners took part in the annual 5K event. Several others joined Mayor Sammy Joe Hartwick and his wife, Cheryl, on the event center's track upstairs to walk the Mayor's Mile.
Greenbrier City Event Center staff challenge residents to walk at least a mile a day. As the year progresses, they should be right around 107 miles by the time this even rolls around. During the Mayor's 107+ Challenge (which also gets its name from partner My Country Y107) participants are able to walk the final mile with the mayor and the city's First Lady.
It's an event that brings the community together while also serving as a fundraiser for the Greenbrier Fire Department.
O'Quinn said she was impressed with Saturday's turnout and was glad to see the continued growth the event has seen through the years.
"I've started to recognize the people that come back year after year," she said. "It's such a great way to bring not only our own community together, but also to bring other people to our community. What's more, it's all for a great cause — a fundraiser for our volunteer fire department. Our firemen come out with the big red trucks with their moustaches on them and help me set up the race route and the Faulkner County reserve officers keep our racers safe. We couldn't do it without their help and support."
Boyd Ford, a 45-year-old Benton resident, participated in the morning race. Ford also competed in the Best Moustache Contest, claiming the second-place title.
Last year, Ford received the Best Moustache award.
The Saline County man said he travels to Greenbrier after learning about the annual event while surfing the web last year. Ford said he began running and looking for 5K races to participate in when he learned of this race.
"Given my mustache, I just had to come try it out," he said while twirling the tips of his 'stache.
The overall atmosphere of event was enough to encourage the Benton man — who placed first in his age group during the 2018 Moustache Dash — to keep coming back, he said.
"The Greenbrier area is just so friendly and welcome," Ford told the Log Cabin. "It's just got that small-town feel to it and the atmosphere is great. This has been my favorite route run."
Graham Powell of Cabot was first to cross the finish line Saturday morning. He completed the 5K in 22 minutes and 31 seconds.
Two groups ran the race as a family The Poors — Crystal, Daniel, Rowan and Josh Allen — and The Biggs — Shawn, Loren, Asa, Sophie and Kennedy.
The Biggs overslept on race day, but they did not let their tardiness deter them from staying on track. The Biggs family joined in on the race 10 minutes behind the rest of the group. The whole family ran together as Loren pushed 9-month-old Kennedy in her stroller.
The Best Moustache honor, sponsored by WoodmenLife, was bestowed upon Wes Tarkington of Greenbrier.
Tarkington said he was a "good ole country boy" who was proud to be able to say he has an award-winning moustache.
Dennis Coast, who said he spends more time tending to his beard than his wife does putting on her makeup each morning, won Best Beard.
Michael West, a Woodmen Life representative, said the company is proud to support local first responders, more specifically the Greenbrier Fire Department, by backing this event.
Mayor Hartwick said he was thankful for the support the community he serves showed and that he is proud of the progress everyone who took part in the Mayor's 107+ Challenge made.
At the end of the awards ceremony, which recognized the top finishers of each age category, organizers handed out three separate Mayor's Challenge awards.
Those honored for completing the Mayor's 107+ Challenge were awarded for going "above and beyond" by surpassing the 107-mile goal.
The Individual Overachiever award was given to Jackie Williams, who has logged 538 miles since Jan. 1.
One woman, Heather Arnold, gave Williams "a run for her money" and was ultimately given the Spirit Award, O'Quinn announced shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday. Arnold has logged 534 miles to date.
Each year, the city encourages residents to compete in teams. This year, the Greenbrier High School team was honored as the 2019 Team Overachiever. The school's team was made up of Angie Brown, Lea Cain, Stephanie Davis, Kelli Martin, Margie Towery, Cheryl Winberry and Williams.