- story by Ellis Anderson, photos courtesy Wendy Kennedy
Ghouls and goblins, fairy princesses and creatures from far-off galaxies will be racing along the Bay St. Louis shoreline on October 28th, when the Halloween Hustle Duathlon and Road Race returns to Bay St. Louis.
The event is one of a series produced by QuadBurners, a coast group headed up by Jennifer Graham. The races take place through the year, each with a fun theme.
There’s the Frosted Fanny in January, an April couples’ run – It Takes Two - and Hot Pursuit in July. The Halloween Hustle (HH) is the fourth race in the annual series. A festive one mile “Ho-Ho” beer and fun run finishes off the year on November 25th.
Beach to Bayou
Graham says that the series is now three years old, although it’s the fourth year for the HH. Most of the races now sell out – meaning they reach the maximum number of participants who can register, around 300.
“About 70 percent of our participants now are repeaters,” says Graham. “More than 50 percent come from either Alabama or Louisiana, but we get lots from Jackson and Hattiesburg too.”
Graham has her masters in Exercise Science whose business, Hurricane Multisport, offer race day planning and hosting services. However, the QuadBurner Event Series is a volunteer project.
Graham guesses the race series is growing in popularity because the focus is more on staying in shape and having fun than being seriously competitive. The races offer some prizes (several for costumes in the Halloween Hustle), but forego the traditional age-group categories.
“It’s less about who wins the race and more about getting people moving,” she says. “These races are designed to give people something to keep training for year-round, to encourage a lifetime of fitness and good health.”
The unique approach and the support of several corporate sponsors – including FEB Distributing and Run & Tri - allows Quadburners to spend more money on the race participants “swag” (freebies, like visors, warm-up jackets, etc.) and the after-race celebration that feature a DJ, beer and food from the popular coast caterer Savory Roots.
The remaining funds are donated to the non-profit Hancock County Canine Operation unit of the Sheriff's Department. Last year, Quadburners gave more than $4,000 to the unit, which enabled the department to purchase a new specially trained dog. They're on track to double that amount in 2017. Officer Jeremy Skinner spearheaded the effort to form the not-for-profit and many officers volunteer their time for the events.
Graham notes that local spectators are always welcome and encouraged. She says that several residents who live near the course now pay attention to when races are scheduled. On race mornings, they bring lawn chairs down to the beach to watch the fun (registration starts at 7am, the race starts at 8am).
“And it’s great fun,” Graham says. “I’m always impressed with the costumes with the Halloween Hustle. We had some folks dressed as champagne bottles once. I’m still not sure how they rode bikes in those costumes.”
Link to register and info for QuadBurners Event Series: