October 12 will kick off the fall running season with three 5K races: The Hillbilly 5k, the Zombie Fun Run and the Rattler Ramble.
The Hillbilly 5k will take place at Lazy Acres Plantation near Meridian, about an hour and a half from Hattiesburg. It features obstacles including hay bales, a mud crawl and a little comical danger from the unsavory inhabitants of the “back 40.” The “back 40” is the large undeveloped land upon which the “angry” hillbillies reside.
According to lazy-acres.com, “Should you encounter one of these hillbillies, maintain eye contact and slowly walk away. Oh, and if you hear banjo music… run!”
“Last year, the people who finished said it was a ton of fun. Their only request was for more mud. So this time, there’s definitely more mud,” said Michael May, race director for the Hillbilly 5K.
The proceeds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of a local girl who suffers from the disease.
For more details and registration, visit the Hillbilly 5K website.
The Zombie 5k Fun Run will be hosted by the College of Nursing.
“Participants can come dressed like zombies if they choose,” said Stephanie Sarver, senior class president of the USM College of Nursing.
“Runners will be given the option to be chased by our zombies, and will be given flags to mark themselves with if they want to ‘run for their lives,” she said.
The run will help fund the College of Nursing graduating class pinning ceremony, but profits will be shared with Edward Street Fellowship Center’s food pantry.
“Nutrition is such a huge part of health care as a preventative measure against disease and as a tertiary measure in healing… Edward Street works to meet these needs, and we wanted to help them do that,” Sarver said.
Students can sign up for the race Sept. 23 or Oct. 2 from 3-7 p.m. in Elizabeth Harkins Hall or on race day at Pride Field.
The Rattler Ramble 5k is more of a trail hike than a run, which makes it different from the other two races.
Race Director Audrey Jackson said, “A lot of the 5ks are about pushing yourself really hard… this one is more of a relaxing type.”
The run will take place at USM’s Lake Thoreau Environmental Center.
The event starts at 3 p.m. to allow competitive runners to enjoy the stroll after a more vigorous race. After the hike, participants can enjoy food from The Keg and Barrel.
The proceeds will go to the upkeep of the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center. Runners can register by filling out the flier at www.pinebeltpacers.org.
No matter what kind of race you’re looking for, October brings plenty of opportunity for fun outdoor competition. Enjoy the weather, get some exercise and remember that fall break is just around the corner.