Kent State Recreational Services to host annual Black Squirrel 5k virtually

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Map of the path taken for the Black Squirrel 5k. 

Kenzie Johnston Reporter

After having the event for the past nine years in-person, Kent State will host its annual Black Squirrel 5k virtually this year due to COVID-19.

The event will take place April 4 through April 10, and will allow participants to complete the race on their own time, according to Beth Michel, fitness wellness coordinator for Kent State Recreational Services.

“We are hoping that people really take advantage of the event being virtual this year. It allows people from all over to participate where and when it is convenient for them,” Michel said.  

Registration is open and people who wish to participate can register up until March 12 to receive a Black Squirrel 5k T-shirt for $20. General registration is open until April 9 with no T-shirt included for $15.

Participants can register through an online portal where they will also upload their race time once they have completed the 5k. Race times will be accepted anytime between the start and end date of the event.

With the race being virtual, participants are encouraged to complete the 5k at their own pace. It can be completed outside, on a treadmill or on the course that has been used in the past, Michel said.

This year’s race will be the 10th annual Black Squirrel 5k, however the event was cancelled last year due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

The Black Squirrel 5k is the most popular 5k hosted on the Kent State campus, averaging 500 to 525 participants each year, said Greg Bailey, associate director of programs and outdoor activities at the Recreation and Wellness Center. Recreational services hopes to keep participation up even through the virtual environment.

“We are excited to provide the university with a sense of community during this time, but even more excited to provide people with an opportunity for physical activity,” Michel said.

“We are hoping that the Black Squirrel 5k will motivate the community to get active while we are still in the pandemic.”

Kenzie Johnston covers health and fitness. Contact her at [email protected]