Running on a fine line

Organizers expect local race to have the largest turn out yet


Submitted Photo – Local runners participate in Run the Line held on State Line. The annual race is anticipated to be the largest event yet.

Story by Nathan Morriss, staff writer

All races start at one point and finish at a predetermined spot. Where most races differ, however, is the path between those two points. Run the Line is unique in that the race just so happens to intertwine both Texas and Arkansas.

Run the Line is a 13.1 mile half marathon that attracts runners from across the country who hope to complete the multistate race. This year’s race expected to be the biggest yet with over 550 runners signed up for the race.

“About a third of our runners come from what what we consider the local area, which is within a 30 mile radius of Texarkana,” Julie-Ray Harrison, Partnership for the Pathway board member and co-director, said. “The others come from outside of that area. This year, [so far] we have runners coming from 12 different states and one foreign country. Overall, we have had runners from 34 different states.”

99% of the net profits [of the race] we use for cash matches for state and federal grants that cities apply for in order to build trails.”

— Julie-Ray Harrison

Run the Line directly benefits Partnership for the Pathway, the organizer of the event and the creator of many of the walking trails in Texarkana.

“We are a nonprofit, all volunteer organization-nobody’s paid in our organization,” Harrison said. “99% of the net profits [of the race] we use for cash matches for state and federal grants that cities apply for in order to build trails.”

Partnership for the Pathway is not the only contributor to the race, but rather many local groups on both sides of the state line help with volunteering sponsoring the event.

“We could not put this race on without all the support we get in the community,” Harrison said. “We have sponsors, local businesses, and individuals who help sponsor the race. The [both the Texas and Arkansas] police and fire departments all work together to keep the course safe for the runners.”

Harrison is also grateful for the large amount of volunteers that help assisting with the race through various ways. Texas High students along with many other individuals help in making sure the race goes smooth.

“It takes about 225 to 250 volunteers to put this race on,” Harrison said. “[The volunteers] out on the course are making sure the runners go in the right direction if there is a turn or something. They are also looking out for cars, in case one [is] coming. We couldn’t have a safe race without [the volunteers].”

Run the Line’s route starts in Texas, and quickly goes into Arkansas. After State Line, the race goes back into Texas, and towards the end goes back into Arkansas.

“We have 13 signs [for each mile]. Those that we put up in Arkansas are red, and they are shaped like the state of Arkansas,” Harrison said. “They had the mile number cut out of the center of the state, too. In Texas, they are orange and they’re shaped like the state of Texas. [The runners] know what state they’re in and what mile they just completed.”

Run the Line has become a tradition for many runners who have ran the race consecutively since the race started years ago.

“One of the things we find is if we put on a good race, people come back and participate again,” Harrison said. “We have runners who have [participated] in this race [for] 12 years, and that’s amazing.”