Sparks Medical Center - Van Buren has distributed proceeds from the 2017 Sparks Stampede as planning has begun for the annual event scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6.

A total of $10,595.55 was presented to the River Valley Ovarian Cancer Alliance and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as the result of last year’s event.

Sparks Stampede also aims to promote physical fitness, while raising awareness of various forms of cancer, according to race organizer Mary Jo Brinkman, the facility compliance officer at Sparks - Van Buren.

Runners in the Sparks Stampede are able to choose between a certified 5K or 10K route. Walkers also will be able to participate in the 5K.

Last year, Andrew Kimmel, 16, of Charleston was the overall male 5K winner with a time of 21:38.2. Kirsten Alvarez, 13, of Fort Smith won in the female category with a time of 24:45.5.

In the 10K, Travis Porter of Fort Smith won in the male division with a time of 46.18.5 while Abrena Rine of Springdale was the top female finisher for the second year in a row with a time of 43:43.6.

Gwen Brooks of Greenwood was the top 5K female walker with a time of 43:18.8 while Nicholas Economides of Fort Smith won in the male category with a time of 49:46.1.

Entry fee for the Sparks Stampede is $20 before Sept. 5 or $25 after Sept. 5 and the day of the race. Register online at or contact Mary Jo Brinkman for a race form at (479) 650-0509 or

Packet pick-up and dinner for participants will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at Sparks Medical Center – Van Buren, East Main and South 20th streets.

Those who register will receive a race T-shirt. Awards will be given to the top male and top female finishers, as well as first, second and third place finishers in the various age groups for runners and walkers in the 5K and 10K. There will be $50 cash awards given to the top male and female runners in the 5K and 10K.

Door prizes also will be awarded.

Sparks Health System includes Sparks Regional Medical Center, Sparks Medical Center – Van Buren, Sparks Clinic, Sparks PremierCare and the fully hospital-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center.