Challengers Take On The Paul Bunyan Extreme Race
For some who live an active lifestyle, running a 5k might be an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday, but more intense athletes who enjoy a physical challenge might have participated in last weekend’s Paul Bunyan Extreme Race in Nisswa.
Over 500 contestants hit the hills running at Mount Ski Gull on Saturday. The family fun atmosphere was full of groups, individuals and families conquering the course throughout the day. With many obstacles throughout the 3.2 mile race, there were several volunteers at each station guiding the participants through. For volunteers Julie Kroll and her daughter Kasia, it was their first extreme race and they were set up by the spider ladder.
“They are pretty worn out by that point because they just came up the hill; they are wet already,” Julie Kroll said.
Out of the 21 obstacles in the course, many of them involved water and mud, making the experience not only fun for all ages, but providing a unique challenge around each corner.
“It’s fun to see a range of people, from athletic to the more common person come out here having fun, groups coming out together and just really enjoying the time together and cheering each other on, so it’s been really fun to watch,” said Kroll.
Even though many of the participants said the obstacles were challenging, the hardest part for many of them was getting up those hills.
“The hills were tough, they were really tough, the hills were probably the toughest thing,” said second place winner Chris Bunnis of Baxter.
“You can’t even run up them, you have to crawl,” one contestant commented.
It may sound terrible, but the contestants were having a blast trying out all of the obstacles, running to the next one as fast as possible just to see what surprise was next. The first place winner, Derrick Justin, from Brainerd finished the race in 27 minutes even, with the second place runner, Bunnis, crossing the finish line with a time of 27 minutes and 4 seconds.
“The adrenaline just starts going and you get your second wind, or third wind, or fourth wind – whatever you call it – and kick down to head for that finish line,” Bunnis said.
Upon completing the race, contestants were caked with mud from head to toe so the Pillager Fire Department brought out their hoses and sprayed them off. Many of the participants said they were tired, but that it was well worth it.
The money raised on Saturday will go towards children ski lessons at Mount Ski Gull as well as the local high school trap and skeet shooting teams.