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Matt Digges competes in last year’s Paul Bunyan Extreme 5K at Mount Ski Gull. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

Fitness: Second Paul Bunyan 5K Saturday

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The Paul Bunyan Extreme 5K returns for its second year at Mount Ski Gull bigger and badder than ever Saturday.

With more than 20 extreme obstacles, including six never seen before, there will be no shortage of mud-covered challenges on the 3.2-mile course.

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"I never make anything just as it seems," Paul Bunyan Extreme 5K founder Eric Anderson said. "I tried to make every obstacle more fun and more challenging. Everything has a trick to it whether it's wobbling, or looking straighter than it is."

The course, which was designed for ages 10 and up, will feature some of last year's favorites like the Paul Bunyan climbing boot and a 200-foot waterslide in addition to swinging ropes, a slingshot challenge, and a few that will test your balance.

"I really want to get the kids involved because we're raising money for kids," said Anderson. "There are so many kids who use that hill. People are skeptical if they can do it or their kids can do it, but it's designed for ages 10 and up and I built it so that I would feel safe with my daughter doing it."

The race will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with a competitive heat, which is also new this year, with waves of 50-80 competitors every half hour until 3:30 p.m.

Prizes will be awarded for best time in all age categories, top male and female, best team time, and best team costume.

DJ Walzy will be on hand with live entertainment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. KLIZ Radio will be broadcasting live from 9 a.m. to noon. Ski Gull will be selling food and beverages all day for competitors and spectators.

Participants can pre-register online for a free T-shirt on race day, or register at the event. Spectators are welcome with a cost of $5 a vehicle for parking.

The event is sponsored by several local businesses including Jim Christensen-Kurilla Realty, GLS, C&L Distributing, Century 21, VisitBrainerd.com, and Anderson Brothers Construction. Event volunteers are being provided thanks to the Lakeshore Conservation Club.

"The Lakeshore Conservation club is providing all of my 40 volunteers and it's great because I get to help two great organizations," said Anderson. "It just feels good. At the end of the day it's all about people having fun, exercising, and realizing that it doesn't have to be a chore if you choose something that you like."

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