The Arkansas Traveller 100 was founded and directed for ten years by Lou and Charley Peyton of Little Rock. The first running of the event was on October 5, 1991. In 1989, Lou Peyton was one of four women to complete ultrarunning’s Grand Slam—the first year this feat was accomplished by a female. It was the Peytons’ travels to these 100 milers in other states that provided the inspiration for the Traveller. They wished to organize a similar event to share the true ultra-running experience with their local friends and runners, and also to host a run where they could invite the many friends they had made at other races from across the country. It is this spirit of friendliness that has earned the Traveller the reputation of being one of the most hospitable races in the United States. Over 200 volunteers assist with the race--working the aid stations and in other areas to make sure runners receive everything they need to finish their 100-mile adventure.
Starting with the 11th running of the race in 2001, the Peytons turned over race-directing duties to Chrissy and Stan Ferguson, but they have remained involved as members of the race board of directors that plans all aspects of the event. Although it was transparent to most, there was one other small change with the race that year: the Arkansas Ultra Running Association became a (RRCA) club entity of its own—with one of its purposes being to provide a formal organizational foundation for the Traveller. Previously, the race was organized under the auspices of the Little Rock Roadrunners Club.
The Arkansas Traveller course has remained almost exactly the same throughout its history. Two minor variances have occurred—both of which are merely trivial. For the first seven years, the race started at the site of the Lake Sylvia aid station and finished at the entrance to the Lake Sylvia park—where race headquarters was located. In 1998, due to repairs underway at the park, the race headquarters and finish were moved just over a half mile up the road to Camp Ouachita, with the starting point being adjusted accordingly. Beginning in 2001, the Turnaround aid station was moved approximately 200 yards to enable the start and finish to be at the same location.
The headquarters of the race remained at Camp Ouachita from 1998 through 2002. This location is about 30 miles west of Little Rock and adjacent to the Lake Sylvia recreation area. Camp Ouachita was a Girl Scout camp built in the 1930’s and is the only surviving G.S. camp built jointly by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. Since the race’s inception, proceeds from the AT100 have gone to the effort to restore this camp, which fell into a critical state of disrepair after it became inactive around 1980. Recently this restoration project has gained attention and additional funding, with major repair work causing race headquarters to be moved back to Lake Sylvia for the 2003 event. We hope to be able to return to Camp Ouachita for future races.