4/13/2024 Scott Orlando, Asad Khan, Steve Zenar, Mike Williams, Gretchen Snyder, Terri Bednar, Nancy Wardell, Cleopatra Sirnic Cifford, And Christine Churpek The Black Squirrel 5K Kent, Ohio


Kent Black Squirrel 5K

Kent, Ohio

Scott Orlando

Finish Time: 22:38

Overall Place: 40th Place / 337

Division Place: 3rd Place / 11

Asad Khan

Finish Time:  23:45

Overall Place:  51st Place / 337

Division Place:  4th Place / 337

Steve Zenar

Finish Time:  24:45

Overall Place:  63rd Place / 337

Division Place:  3rd Place / 11

Mike Williams

Finish Time:  25:34

Overall Place:  74th Place / 337

Division Place:  6th Place / 11

Gretchen Snyder

Finish Time:  26:07

Overall Place:  81st Place / 337

Division Place:  3rd Place / 21

Terri Bednar

Finish Time:  26:10

Overall Place:  83rd Place / 337

Division Place:  1st Place / 19

Nancy Wardell

Finish Time:  29:12

Overall Place:  129th Place / 337

Division Place:  4th Place / 21

Cleopatra Sirnic Clifford

Finish Time:  30:18

Overall Place:  139th Place / 337

Division Place:  1st Place / 16

Christine Churpek provided course support and took pictures of all Team ER members.

Race Recap By Nancy Wardell:

I was a windy morning in Kent, but still completed the Black Squirrel 5K!  Congratulations to all of the Team-ER members that were there and ran, and also to those that placed! I finished the race in 29:12 with a pace of 9:25 and took 4th in my age group.

Race Recap By Steve Zenar:

I had a great morning running the 2024 Black Squirrel 5K. As per previous years this was a well organized and enjoyable race with a wonderful awards ceremony (always love the warm bowl of chili after a cool run ). It was also wonderful seeing a sea of green Team ER shirts – Go Team-ER!

Race Recap By Scott Orlando:

It was a cold and windy morning for the annual Black Squirrel 5K in Kent, Ohio.  This year’s race was much larger than last year’s race field with almost 500 competitors pre registered.  Of those registered 337 crossed the finish line.  I think the cold temperatures and strong winds kept many of the pre registered racers from competing.

I have competed in this race several times over the years.  The race takes place at the Kent State Recreation And Wellness Center.  Pre race activities are all inside and the indoor track is a great place to warm up for the race.  The course is hilly!  The race starts at the Recreation And Wellness Center, loops around the campus, and then finishes back at the Recreation And Wellness Center.

My goal heading into the race was to finish in the top 3 in my age division.  I knew there was at least one very fast runner competing in my age division so it was likely I was competing for 2nd or 3rd place.  The race started and we were off towards the campus.  From the start I felt like I was working really hard.  It was very challenging running into the strong wind gusts.  At the first mile marker I was a bit discouraged that my watch was feeding me data saying that my first mile split was 8:02.  That is at least a minute off of my normal first mile spilt and I felt like I was working really hard.   The second mile featured some more nasty hills and once again I received a slow mile split of 8:17.  I felt like I was exerting a lot of energy and effort.  I was able to pass a runner that appeared to be close to my age group if not in it.  At that point I felt pretty confident that if I maintained my position in the race field I would be on the podium.  During the turns in the final mile I was able to look over my shoulder to determine if anyone was making a push from behind to challenge me.  Luckily no one was so I was able to maintain my pace and cruise into the finish.  My finish time was 22:38 placing me 3rd in my division and 40th overall.  My time was about 34 seconds slower than last year but understandable with the challenging running conditions.  Results have me averaging a 7:18 mile pace which is far faster than the 8:11 mile pace my watch calculated.  I think I may have started my watch early waiting for the gun start.  This would explain the slow mile splits.

Overall the race was once again very well organized.  The indoor post race celebration was very nice and included a buffet of bagels, fruit, granola bars and chili.  Race results were immediately posted which is always nice.  I love the mini race bibs that the timing company used.  Often race bibs are large and cumbersome.  The awards ceremony was well done although the sound system they always use makes it very difficult to hear.  It was great to see so many of my teammates and running friends receive medals.

I was a little bummed that the race organizers decided not to offer awards for the team competition divisions that they offered.  This was a little frustrating to me because I spent a fair amount of effort recruiting our team members to register for the race to be included in the team competition.  After the race I asked the director of about the team awards.  He said they cancelled those divisions due to lack of participation.  I went back and checked and there were only a few teams register for the male and female teams but the coed team division had 7 teams registered with a total of 49 individuals registered for the coed teams so I would have liked to have seen them at least present the coed team awards.

Race swag included t-shirts and the mini race bibs.  The race advertises performance shirts for all runners registering before the shirt deadline but the shirts provided are actually just standard all cotton shirts.  This happened last year as well.  I made mention of this last year on the post race survey but nothing changed.  There is nothing wrong with offering standard cotton t-shirts but I don’t think they should promote performance shirts in the race descriptions.  I would recommend changing the race description information, or actually provide performance shirts.   Runners that missed the registration deadline to receive a shirt were given the opportunity to purchase a shirt after the race for $5.00.  I don’t understand the extra payment to purchase a shirt when the runners that registered late paid higher race registration fees.  I would prefer to see them give left over shirts for free to any registered runner that did not receive one.   I would also like to see them offer finisher medals for all participants.  They did provide finisher medals for all of the 1 mile fun run participants which was nice.  They do offer a lot of award divisions but with a larger race not everyone received a medal.  The race is a great event and I would recommend for anyone to consider running it next year.

Race Recap By Terri Bednar:

It was a beautiful day for a race in Kent for the Black Squirrel 5K. Plenty of gorgeous scenery as we ran through campus and the terrain was a good variety of elevation. The finish line and post race food was amazing! They fed you like you just ran a marathon! The chili was delish! Black squirrel age group winners received a cute medal in the shape of an acorn and were colored based on you age group place, gold, silver and bronze. Also, it was easy to get to the race and parking was close. I would do that race again!