HALEYVILLE - Those participating in the 7th annual Encore/Sportsfit/Lakeland Community Hospital 5K should show up Saturday, June 2, expecting the unexpected. In the past, the Extreme Challenge, which is held during the city of Haleyville’s 9-1-1 festival, offers some challenging moments. This year, the course which takes participants around the perimeter of the downtown festival, will have quite a few surprises, announced Barry Haisting, LPTA at Encore Rehabilitation and Sportsfit director. The event will open at 6 a.m. for registration at the park area located across from Guthrie's restaurant at the east entrance to Main Street.
“We urge people to sign up in advance,” Haisting stressed. Those signing up for the event need to come by Encore Rehabilitation, located in the Village East shopping center off Highway 195, and pick up an application, Haisting said. “You can sign up the day of the race,” said Haisting. “But we cannot guarantee a shirt size.”
The first 100 people to pre-register will get a free 9-1-1 5K T-shirt, he said. Registration cost will be $20 per person or $50 per team. The route, starting at 7 a.m. at the park located across from Guthrie's, will travel around the downtown 9-1-1 festival in a one mile course consisting of three laps, with participants having the option of doing a three person team with a team theme. If that is done, each of the three team members can run one lap in relay style, said Haisting. An individual must take all three laps.
“We encourage anybody doing a team to dress up in some kind of theme,” said Haisting. “We’ve had a lot of different characters, team characters, come out, The Incredibles, The Three Little Pigs. We are working on new surprises this year that will be disclosed the day of the race.”
The course will include the famous mud pit, obstacle course and Haleyville Fire Department waterfall with participants being splashed with powder paint containing food coloring-- so organizers stress for participants to please wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty. The challenge is designed to be fun for all ages, not requiring any special skills. Participants can either walk or run the course in an event, which will not be timed, but the race is scheduled to end at 8 a.m. due to other festivities that will be taking place in downtown that day. The race will consist of three age groups, both male and female, 8-13, 14-30 and 31 and older, according to Haisting. Medals will be awarded for first, second and third place in each age category as well as a medal for the best team.
Inspiration behind the Extreme Challenge was Gary Warren, who, seven years ago, requested such an event be done as part of the annual 9-1-1 festival. Warren, who has since passed away, left behind a legacy of commitment to planning the 9-1-1 Festival, with all proceeds raised from the Extreme Challenge going to the scholarship fund set up in Warren’s name. The scholarship benefits a deserving senior from the Haleyville Center of Technology, where Warren was director for many years. Approximately $1,000 are raised each year from the Extreme Challenge, according to Haisting.
The Extreme Challenge also coordinates with the 9-1-1 festival, in showing extreme challenges that emergency responders face on a daily basis, Haisting indicated.
“We try to incorporate challenges that are very easy to accomplish, nothing treacherous, but to give you an idea of conditions they go through when we call 9-1-1,” he said. “They come out. They don’t care what the weather is like. You call, they come,” he pointed out. “But we are not going to subject anyone to anything dangerous...we do it on a more family fun friendly scale.”
Sponsors for the 9-1-1 Extreme Challenge are Lakeland Community Hospital, Encore Rehabilitation, Sportsfit, Jolly Dan's, Rowe Building Supply, Auto Restorers, Elliott True Value Hardware, Haleyville Police Department, Haleyville Fire Department and Haleyville Rescue Squad.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.