A Running Glance:
Things I loved
- Beautiful trails
- Handmade medals
Things I less than loved
- Course was a tad short (but who’s complaining?)
The Extreme Totem Pole Race is held annually at the Hood Scout Reservation in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and is both hosted by and benefits the Andrew Jackson Council of BSA. In addition to a beautiful 5K or 10K tromp through the woods, registration also included post-run zip-lining! You tell me one other race that ends with zip-lining!!
Early bird registration was only $25, with the price increasing to $30 the month before the race. Not too shabby! Plus the funds raised benefited the Scouts! (I was a girl scout troop leader for 11 years, and I adore the scouts! And you should know that I wasn’t just in it for the cookies. 😉 My daughters learned a lot from scouting … and so did I.)
Registration included a reusable drawstring bag full of goodies, including a branded plastic cup, race shirt, frisbee, and other items donated by sponsors like WeInsure. The race shirt is so soft and lightweight. The brand is Bella Canvas, made of 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon – an excellent performance-type blend.
OH! Our swag bags included tickets for door prizes, and I just happened to win a $20 gift card to our local Salad Station. Winner, winner – SALAD dinner? 😉
Sonic breakfast burritos (Thanks McClain Sonics!) were waiting for participants at the finish line, along with various snacks, water, fruit, and some “scout-made” desserts in dutch ovens. (Man, I really do miss scouting!) However, the most awesome thing about the post-race party was the free zip-lining!! I had never zip-lined and honestly … I’m really afraid of heights. A few years ago I had a terrible experience on a flying trapeze at the circus. (That sounds made-up, but it’s totally a true story!! Ha!)
The race medals were also “scout-made” (with love) and honored the totem pole theme. There were several design varieties but my favorite ones featured arrowheads and resembled traditional “medals.” The age-group awards were hand-crafted and donated by a long-time scout volunteer. Such talent!
There were tons of scouts and leaders on hand volunteering both at packet pick up and at the finish line. Thanks, everyone!!
What a beautiful route! I was so pleasantly surprised with this gorgeous course. It had everything! Water. Leaves. Trees. The whole shebang!
Course Difficulty: LEVEL 2.5
I rated this route a level 2.5 on the “RUNable Difficulty” scale; it falls somewhere between easy and moderate. There were just the right amount of hills and turns to keep it less technical, but just enough to present you with a fun and challenging run. The 10K was actually over a quarter-mile short, but I kept on running to make sure I finished my entire 6.2 miles. #GottaGetMyMoneysWorth 😉
There were several aid stations along the route with plenty of scouts and scout leaders passing out ice-cold H2O.
The Scout Hood Reservation has a good-sized parking lot that more than accommodated participants. The location was remote but easy to find and well worth the short drive.
My fellow RunStronger, Steve (AKA “Wonder Walton”), is a Scout Leader and helped organize this little shindig. Well done, WW! I can’t wait to run with y’all again!! (And maybe ZIPLINE again – WE SHALL SEE HOW BRAVE I’M FEELING!) Shout out to my good buddy Rob with SISU Timing. Thanks for your help with this event.
Finishing Thoughts …
If you’re looking for a fun hometown trail race that benefits an awesome cause, look no further! The Extreme Totem Pole Race offers all that and more! Be sure to add this event to your calendar next year. Follow them on Facebook for the latest and greatest and to keep yourself in the loop. I heard a rumor from a reliable source (it was Steve) that they’re planning another race this fall! Don’t miss it!