About three years ago, Matt Clem and Hal Sistrunk invited a few running friends for coffee to discuss the idea of starting a group to promote trail and ultra-running in the metro area. Although the group liked the idea, they weren’t sure there would be enough interest for it to go anywhere. The group, known as the Mississippi Ultra and Trail Society, or MUTS, now has over 100 members and puts on four major races per year in addition to monthly fun runs.
MUTS is a non-profit that exists to promote, support and grow trail and ultra-running throughout Mississippi. Vice-president Jenny Hong views MUTS as a community of people who enjoy being active, specifically outdoors. Members range from experienced ultra-runners to walkers who primarily come for the fellowship. Jenny notes that the monthly fun runs are a great way for beginners to get to know the organization and the many trails in the Jackson area. MUTS also puts on four annual fundraising events: The Frosty 15 in February, the Fondren Urban Ultra in April, the Big Butts 100k in July and the Way’s Bluff Trail Run in October.
Members of MUTS receive discounts and gift cards from local merchants such as Buffalo Peak, Fleet Feet Jackson, NUTS, Super Shake and Sweat Sauna, in addition to a registration discount for the annual races. They can also assist in cleaning and maintaining a three-mile portion of a trail that MUTS has adopted. According the Jenny, however, the biggest benefit of MUTS membership is the community. When she first moved to Mississippi seven years ago, running was the way she found the people who became some of her closest friends. She started out with a goal of competing one half-marathon, but with the encouragement of her friends in MUTS, she has run countless races, including two ultra-distances. Runners in Mississippi are fortunate not only to have access to beautiful trails, but also a community of people committed to using and maintaining them for the benefit of the public.
MUTS is hosting a membership drive THIS Saturday, January 12, at 6 pm at Fondren Public.