By John R. Schirmer
A Nashville man finished among the top 30 overall at the Little Rock Marathon Sunday, Nov. 21.
Shaun Cox ran the 26.2-mile course in 3:24:45, placing him 30th out of 747 participants in the event. He was the only runner from Nashville.
Little Rock marked Cox’s 12th full marathon.
He’s run five times at Little Rock, along with St. Jude at Memphis “a few times,” Chicago and Tupelo, Miss.
Cox started running in 2016 “to get in better shape. My dad has had heart issues, and I wanted to try to get healthier. I’ve lost about 40 pounds.”
The race began and ended on LaHarpe Boulevard in downtown Little Rock. Starting time was 8 a.m.
Participants ran “a scenic course featuring the Capital City’s famous landmarks,” according to the Marathon’s website.
There was entertainment during the race, along with “plentiful course support and aid stations,” the website said.
Little Rock “is a challenging course. There are several hills in the second half,” Cox said. “The weather was a bit warm for running. It was 57 at the start, I believe, and I like it better in the 40s. It was overcast, which helped some.”
Spectators are “spread out throughout the course cheering on their friends and family,” according to Cox.
“It’s a big help hearing people cheer you on. There are aid stations throughout the course with water, Gatorade and some energy gels.”
Cox said he knows several of the other participants who were at Little Rock.
“I had several friends there that ran. A few of us get together on the weekends and train together for these races,” he said.
The next race for Cox will be Dec. 4 at the St. Jude Marathon.
Along with running marathons, Cox has also done an Ironman triathlon. He described it as “a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles on a bike and a 26.2 mile run.”
The triathlon was held last May in Tulsa. Cox finished in 14 hours, 29 minutes, 4 seconds.
“It wasn’t quite my time goal, but the biggest goal was just finishing,” he said.
Cox’s wife Heather has been “running off and on since 2016. I don’t race much. I just run to run mostly. I’ll sign up a race every now and then.”
Heather said she is “so proud” of her husband. He has “that competitive spirit that I don’t have, and it makes you push yourself.”