There are many wonderful running stories about extreme northeast Mississippi’s Highway 350. Highway 350 runs parallel with, and just a stone’s throw south of, the Tennessee border. Only 15 miles long, the relatively new road connects Corinth and Alcorn County with the fantastic recreation area in neighboring Tishomingo County known as Pickwick Lake.
After entering Tishomingo County, the last few miles of Highway 350 reach into the official southern end of Appalachian region. While not to be confused with the Blue Ridge or Smoky Mountains, these modest Appalachian foothills can still provide quite a shock for those expecting the continued flatness of the Mississippi delta! As a result, the punishment the so called “Alps of Mississippi” can inflict on over-confident, unsuspecting, or unprepared visiting runners is legendary.
Consider the following email from local runner Steve's brother Ted, wherein Ted chronicles to a third brother his visit to Corinth, explaining why he did not later play golf as planned.
(Needless to say, Ted’s lengthy and non-stop bluster concerning his new road racing abilities, delivered with all the passion and fervor of a new running convert, had failed to impress his Corinth relatives; and, as a result, brother Steve and niece Katlyn (soon to join her SEC school’s cross-country team) decided to set Ted up by failing to properly mention the difficulty of #350. It goes without saying there was “pay back” at a later date from Uncle Ted.]. So, listen to Ted's woeful tale.)
The “Three Ladies” or “Hell’s Belles” were the peaks of three half- to three quarter- mile inclines on Highway 350. Jogging is a wonderful activity, but as I limped along in my trendy new nylon running attire, giving my best impersonation of two flat tires, I could only smile at the enjoyment I must have brought to each of the 17 fishermen who passed pulling their boats to Pickwick Lake. Their unheard comments were no doubt classic, and I have likely made many of the same remarks previously myself. Or perhaps there were no comments, just a simple look to one another, a shake of the head, a smile, and then continued conversation of rising fish and what patterns they will hold today. I guess it’s good to know both sides of the fence in such encounters, but these days I may be spending a little too much time on the wrong side. Golf would have been a nice activity, but the three “Hell’s Belles” also demanded several hours of post run hydration, two hours of fuel intake, an hour nap, three hours of sitting, afterwards leaving me with just enough energy to walk up to the bedroom to sleep for the night.
Location: Highway 350, between Kendrick Road and Highway 25 (Yellow Creek)
Parking: Unpaved red clay at intersection of Kendrick and #350
Traffic: Moderate; log trucks
Safety: **Somewhat isolated and desolate!** Public Highway
Bathroom: Pine trees
Route: Two lane road with grassy shoulder and several long straight aways
Description: Very hilly, tough
Water at Start: None
Water on Course: None (pick up your litter!)
Editorial Note: Highway 350 is the Saturday morning stomping ground of the local “Lunatic Fringe running group.” If you are in NE MS and looking for a run between 8 and 20+ miles, with good companionship and hydration provided every three or four miles, you are welcome to join us. The somewhat parallel Ridge Road offers less hilly options for some variety. As my friend, Big Foot, described the Ridge Road.... "Perfectly flat....other than the hills...."
Kenneth Williams, @MarathonKoach.
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