4/23/2023 Kristi Gunyula, Roy Miller, Lisa Keane Owens Corning Half Marathon, Toledo, Ohio


Owens Corning Half Marathon (Glass City Marathon)

Kristi Gunyula

Finish Time:  1:35:29

Overall Place:  165th Place / 2079

Division Place:  3rd Place / 144

Roy Miller

Finish Time:  1:39:20

Overall Place:  231st Place / 2079

Division Place:  9th Place / 101

Lisa Keane

Finish Time:  2:24:11

Overall Place:  1778th Place / 2076

Division Place:  90th Place / 124

Race Recap By Lisa Keane:

Flat, fast course with tons of support from spectators and volunteers along the way!  Well placed aid stations with porta potty’s, water, and Gatorade however no fuel so make sure to bring your own! The expo was super organized making packet pick up easy with a good amount of vendors to browse. The after party was spectacular with a live band, food and beverages and plenty of spots to watch incoming finishers!

4/22/2023 Scott Orlando Grand River Canoe And Kayak Race Madison Township, Ohio


Grand River Canoe & Kayak Race

Madison Township, Ohio

14′ And Shorter Kayak Race

Scott Orlando

Finish Time:  1:21:16

Overall Place:  4th Place / 58

Division Place:  1st Place / 19

Race Recap By Scott Orlando

This was my 4th or 5th time competing in the annual Grand River Canoe & Kayak Race.  Every year the race is a completely different experience due to the weather conditions and river conditions.  This year’s race was limited to 250 participants due to construction at the start line park area.  Pre race conditions were about as nasty as they get with heavy rains, gusting winds, and chilly temperatures in the 40’s  The night before the race the river was running low and slow with an average depth of 2’7″ and a flow rate of 390 ft/s.  Racers were informed that parking would be an issue at the start site due to construction so I planned on arriving very early to secure a good parking spot and avoid having to park off site and be shuttled to the start.  Racers are sent off 3 at a time every minute so arriving early also means you will be in the front of the line to start.  With the nasty rain and weather I wanted to start as soon as possible to avoid standing in the cold rain waiting my turn,  I ended up being one of the first 4 or 5 groups to start which proved to have some advantages and disadvantages.  I huge advantage was I didn’t have to wait in the cold rain to start.  A disadvantage was that after I passed a few slow recreational kayakers in the early miles I paddled most of the race without seeing any other racers to push me.   Another disadvantage to starting early was river was slower and lower.  At the start of the race the depth was 3’5″ with a flow of 857 ft/s  By 10:00 am the depth had increased to 4’1″ and the flow increased to 1,240 ft/s.  So the later a racer started the race the faster the course was.   This gave the late starting racers a significant advantage.

My start was a little slow as I took my time securing my spray skirt and getting adjusted.  With the nasty weather I felt the time spent getting protected from the elements would be worth it and help avoid potential issues later in the race lake hypothermia or a swamped kayak.   I settled in quickly and off I went down the river.  At first my hands were numb from the cold water and wind.  I was wearing fingerless paddle gloves, but did have full gloves ready to go in the pockets of my spray skirt.  After a mile or two my heart rate got up and warmed my hands which saved me time from changing gloves.  As I made my way down the river the wind and strong side currents really pulled at my kayak.  Much of the course features high cliffs on either side of the river making for beautiful scenery.  The heavy rains created beautiful waterfalls everywhere cascading down the high steep cliffs.  Although majestic to look at the water crashing into the river created lots of side current and I found myself exerting a lot of energy corrective paddling to keep my kayak tracking straight.  A highlight of the race was seeing a few bald eagles sore above me around the high cliffs.

Being this was the first time I was in a kayak all year I wasn’t sure how I would feel in the late miles.  I have been training hard with running and did spend a fair amount of time on the row machine over the winter months.  I was surprised that endurance wise I felt fairly strong.  I probably took it a little too easy in the early miles of the race but maybe that paid off in the late miles where I felt fairly fresh and was able to increase my stroke rate and push harder.  During the race I was able to pass every kayak that started with me and in front of me that I could see.  I was passed by 2 speedy canoe tandem teams.  The race finishes with a turn under a bridge, a left turn to the river bank, exiting of the kayak, and then a short sprint across the finish line.  This is always interesting because you never know what kind of shape your legs are in until you exit the kayak.  Most people don’t realize but a lot of power is generated kayaking with your legs.  Mine felt tight and cramped a little but I recovered quickly and made the short sprint to the finish without much problem.  Without having much to go on regarding my pace I wasn’t sure how I actually did.  I was surprised to learn I finished 4th overall in the 14′ and under race and won my age division with a time of 1:21:16.  My finish time was actually the 6th fastest among all single kayaks.  This was my second fastest time completing this race.  Last year was my fastest when the water level was very high and fast.

All racers received really nice finisher medals and t-shirts.   The race was organized by Lake Metro Parks who always does a great job.  They brought back the shuttle service which was awesome and returned racers to their cars at the start area.  They did have a timing glitch with some of the race divisions when handing out awards but they were able to resolve the issue and corrected it.  Race winners received traditional trophies with a canoe mounted on them.  I do find it a little comical to receive a canoe trophy for a kayak race but I am guessing there aren’t any kayak trophy top makers out there.  I loved that they had a timing station at the finish line for racers to get their live race results.  They did have a small concession station set up at the finish for racers to purchase snacks.  Sports drinks and fruit were provided for free at the finish, but I would like to see more free post race snacks available.  The paid concession proceeds went to charity so I certainly understand that.  In years past the paid concessions included grilled hot dogs and hamburgers so that would have been nice to see again.




4/16/2023 Lisa Keane Ohio State 4 Miler Columbus, Ohio


Ohio State 4 Miler

Columbus, Ohio

Finish Time 55:42

Overall Place:  4349th Place / 7125

Division Place:  219th Place / 500

Race Recap By Lisa Keane:

I highly recommend this family friendly event made extra with tickets for the spring game!  Flat, fast course around the beautiful OSU campus and the shirt and medal are top notch!  I can’t wait to do it again next year!

4/8/2023 Scott Orlando, Asad Khan, Steve Zenar, Christine Churpek, Peter Heroux, And Kevin Christensen Black Squirrel 5K Kent, Ohio


The Black Squirrel 5K

Kent, Ohio

Scott Orlando

Finish Time:  22:04

Overall Place:  16th Place / 256

Division Place:  1st Place / 15

Asad Khan

Finish Time:  24:25

Overall Place:  34th Place / 256

Division Place:  3rd Place / 15

Steve Zenar

Finish Time:  25:05

Overall Place:  42nd Place / 256

Division Place:  2nd Place / 7

Christine Churpek

Finish Time:  25:33

Overall Place:  49th Place / 256

Division Place:  3rd Place / 15

Peter Heroux

Finish Time:  25:51

Overall Place:  57th Place / 256

Division Place:  4th Place / 12

Kevin Christensen

Finish Time:  27:52

Overall Place:  83rd Place / 256

Division Place:  3rd Place / 7

Race Recap By Steve Zenar:

I had a wonderful morning running the Black Squirrel 5K.  I always enjoy this race and running through my old stomping grounds at KSU! I placed 2nd in age group and improved my time by almost 2 minutes from 2022.  It was also really great to see so many Team ER team members there.

Race recap by Scott Orlando:

I haven’t run the Black Squirrel 5K since 2015 because of schedule conflicts.  I was happy that this year in the 11th annual year of the race I was able to compete.   I had 2 goals in mind heading into this race.  I wanted to beat my time from 2015 and win my age group.  I am not sure why, but for some reason I was overly nervous about competing in this race.  The week before the race I found myself reviewing the race registration website and scanning for participants in my age group.  With each day the list grew and I found myself more anxious seeing so many registrants in my division.  I had to remind myself to focus on my own race and not worry about anyone else.

The morning of the race the weather was cool with some gusting winds and bright sunshine.  It was a little cold but running conditions were favorable.  I took advantage of the indoor track at the host site of the Kent State University Recreation And Wellness Center to warm up.  The registration site indicated close to 350 entries and of that 256 were listed as finishers in the final results.  I knew a lot of runners competing in the race.  We had 6 Team ER members in the field plus several of my neighbors ran as well as members of other run groups I train with, and other running friends.   One of my neighbor’s competed with her daughter who is a professional soccer player for Racing Louisville FC and the daughter’s boyfriend who is a hockey player for Ohio State University.  As the gun sounded I quickly found myself running with the professional soccer player and Ohio State hockey player.  The Hockey Player made his way ahead of us and stayed there for the remainder of the race.  The professional soccer player and I went back and forth passing each other.  I would pass her on the flats and downhill sections and she would come back strong and pass me on the hills and there were definitely hills!  The first one was short and steep and really took my breath and speed away but I managed to recover and get back to my pace.   I was better prepared for the rest of the hills.  As we headed into the last half mile I again passed the professional soccer player only to find that she slowed down just enough to catch her breath for the final push to the finish.  She suddenly sprinted past me and I was unable to catch her.  I finished just a few seconds behind her.  She was the 2nd overall female finisher.  I was 16th overall and won my age group with a finish time of 22:04.  I had achieved my 2 goals and was happy with my result.  After the race I was joking with the professional soccer player how I thought she was just toying with me each time I passed her and she quickly passed me back.  She explained that was her strategy to slow down at points to recover.   In the end I felt pretty accomplished in that I was able to keep up with the hockey player and professional soccer player that I doubled in age.

After the race runners were treated to a nice buffet of bagels, fruit, chili, and juices.  It was so fun to see so many of our Team ER members, friends, and neighbors win awards.  Age group and overall winners received nice custom medals of gold, silver, and bronze colors.  All participants received green t-shirts with a race logo that included a gray squirrel on it which had many of us joking and questioning why a race sponsored by a school who’s colors are gold and navy would have green race shirts with a gray squirrel on them when the race is called the Black Squirrel 5K.  Kent, Ohio is known for it’s black squirrels which were introduced in 1961 to help control the gray squirrel population that was getting out of control.  So if you know the history the choice of a gray squirrel on the shirt is even more perplexing.  The race was well organized and I loved the mini race bib that were used.  I whish more races utilized the smaller bibs.  Just prior to leaving the race we took advantage of the black squirrel photo op set up that included a wifi enabled photo printer that produced free photo prints with race branding on them.  I must say that was a nice touch and we had fun taking pictures.

4/8/2023 Kris Engstrom, Nancy Wardell, And Brittany Kiehl Canalway Classic Spring Peeper 5 Miler Canal Fulton, Ohio


Canalway Classic Spring Peeper 5 Miler

Canal Fulton, Ohio

Kris Engstrom

Finish Time:  40:30

Overall Place:  21st Place:  / 106

Division Place:  2nd Place / 10

Nancy Wardell

Finish Time:  54:28

Overall Place:  84th Place / 106

Division Place:  5th Place / 6

Brittany Kiehl

Brittany completed the race virtually on her treadmill due to a conflict with the rescheduled race date.  The race was postponed a week due to severe weather on the original race date.

Race Recap By Nancy Wardell:

This 5 miler was on a long flat course through the woods on trails. It had some great music and loved the frog mascot handing out medals at the end! The donuts were a great touch and free shirts and cup of coffee as well! Great course for beginners!