Help from pirates: Local group to raise money for cross-country team

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

File photo

File photo

Last year, several athletes from Poplarville’s cross-country team qualified to compete at the state level, but were unable to attend due to a lack of funds.
However, this year, the Mississippi Mud Pirates are aiming to ensure that the young runners have the chance to compete at state competitions.
Event co-coordinator and Mississippi Mud Pirates board member, David Johnson has two children on the cross-country team. He is also the Booster Club president.
The cross-country team is comprised of Poplarville middle and high school students, Johnson said. Athletes run a three mile trail run on different terrains, including mud, gravel, grass and asphalt.
“Last year, the high school boys and girls who placed did not get the chance to travel to state competition,” Johnson said. “The Mud Pirates are hosting a fundraiser to ensure these young adults get to go.”
This weekend, the Mississippi Mud Pirates are hosting the “Pirates Paying it Forward 5K.” Although the cross-country season doesn’t begin until October, Johnson said the group wants to ensure the funds will be in place.
The Mississippi Mud Pirates was established in Pearl River County in 2012 by a group of locals who enjoy running and participating in Spartan races, Johnson said. The group currently has more than 600 members from all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“The group hosts family friendly events and everyone runs,” Johnson said. “The group hosts monthly runs. The first Friday of the month run is at the Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Kiln, second Friday runs are held at city park in Poplarville and third Friday runs are held at The Ugly Pirate in Bay St. Louis.”
The group also started a scholarship fund at Pearl River Community College in memory of local athlete Stony Gendus, Johnson said. Two scholarships have been awarded to date.
A year membership costs a family $50 and a single membership costs $35, Johnson said. Some participating retailers give merchandise discounts for showing a membership card and members receive $5 off run registration fees.
This weekend’s run will begin at the Dixon Theater located at 502 S. Main St. in Poplarville. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the 5K begins at 8 a.m. There is a one mile fun run beginning at 9 a.m.
The registration cost for the 5K run is $25 while $10 will secure a spot in the one mile fun run.
“My son and daughter both run cross-country and were disappointed when they couldn’t attend state competition last year,” Johnson said. “After that I brought it to the Mud Pirates board and they decided right away to help. It’s all about getting the youth involved in athletics.”
For more information about the Mississippi Mud Pirates visit or look for them on Facebook at MS Mud Pirates.

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