Chile Pepper Festival

Chile Pepper Mission Statement; 
We inspire and support Northwest Arkansas youth cross country teams, promoting the benefit of exercise, healthy lifestyle, teamwork and lifelong sport. 


One day in 1988, Joe Fennel, Randy Rhine and Kelly O'Meara, the Fayetteville High School cross-country coach, were out running. Kelly mentioned that his cross-country budget was $100. In the days before development programs, there wasn't money for sports other than football and basketball. Joe and Randy were shocked and decided to do something about it. They created the Chile Pepper Running Club and from there, the Chile Pepper Run. It was originally held in May and consisted of the 10K open run only. The Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival was created in 1992 to bring together three northwest Arkansas cross-country races under a single event - the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, which is now one of the premier running events in America. The Festival united the Chile Pepper Run; the Arkansas Invitational, the annual Lady'Back and Razorback home meet; and the Fayetteville High School's Purple Dog Invitational. Now the Chile Pepper hosts approximately 7,000 runners and over 6,000 spectators each year and is one of the largest cross country festivals in the nation. More than $800,000 has been given to northwest Arkansas cross-country programs. $70,000 was donated in 2019.


Schedule - Friday, October 4th

  • Packet Pick Up Onsite 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Tom Lewis 1 Mile Friday Night Pepper Dashes;
    • 6:20 p.m. Under 12 World Championship Contenders Only
    • 6:40 Open Category.
  • Parking at Agri Park on Garland Avenue, NEW for 2019 enter course and park at Event Staff lot inside course (weather permitting), beside Washington County Fairgrounds, and finally limited space on the grass field on Quality Lane off Gregg Street.

Schedule Saturday, October 5th

General Public / Individuals

  • Chile Pepper Open 10K 7:30 a.m.
  • Awards - Chile Pepper Open 10K 9:15 a.m.
  • 5K Open has been suspended for 2019 due to schedule concerns.

College / Open* 2019; 2 Heats for Men/Women as registrations are nearly double to last year.  This is a larger than normal year for College since NCAA region event follows on November 15th. 

Here's the Answer to the Question "Which Heat are we scheduled for?"  University of Arkansas Coaches/Staff have guided this process.  2019 College Race Assignments

  • Men's Collegiate (8K) 9:00 a.m.
  • Men's Collegiate (8K) Heat 2  9:50 a.m.
  • Women's Collegiate (5K) 10:40 a.m.
  • Women's Collegiate (5K) Heat 2 11:20 a.m.
  • Awards - Collegiate Men and Women 11:30 a.m.

High School & Junior High

  • Senior High Boy's "El Caliente" (Varsity-5K) 12:00 p.m.
  • Senior High Girl's "El Caliente" (Varsity-5K) 12:30 p.m.
  • Senior High Boy's Open (5K) 1:15 p.m.
  • Senior High Girl's Open (5K)  1:45 p.m.
  • Awards - Senior High School 2:40 p.m.
  • Junior High Boys (2 Mile) 2:45 p.m.
  • Junior High Girls (2 Mile) 3:15  p.m.
  • Awards - Junior High School 3:45 p.m.