Snow and ice not enough to slow down Black Squirrel 5K runners


Austin Mariasy

Runners wait at the starting line for the Black Squirrel 5K Race to start on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

Brianna Figley

Despite the cold weather and unexpected snowfall, more than 250 runners participated in the 6th Annual Black Squirrel 5K Race. Volunteers from Kent State’s club sports came together with the Student Recreation and Wellness Center staff to make the event a success.

“We had 85 volunteers out on the course today that stood out there in the cold (and) rain, directing people and cheering people on,” said Greg Bailey, assistant director of Recreational Services and director of the Black Squirrel 5K Race. “We also have our marketing staff that did a great job. It’s a collective effort of everyone, not just one person.”

The race usually brings a little over 600 participants, but this year’s lingering cold weather conditions lowered the number of registrants to 449. Over half of the registrants braved the cold to compete in the race.

“When we talk about this event, we always say ‘It will happen rain or shine, and it’s our spring time run,’ so it never occurred to us that by this time in April, there would be multiple inches of snow,” said Abby Millsaps, marketing coordinator of Recreation Services. “I think the people that were here today really wanted to be here. They made the effort to wake up, clean off their cars and to get in here. I think that’s really significant and made the event really fun. People’s spirits were high even though the weather wasn’t great.”

Results of the race were categorized in three different ways: overall, age and male or female. The top three overall placers were 34-year-old Gabriel Piriz from Kent, taking third place with a time of 18:12 and  19-year-old Mason Moore from Barnesville, taking second with 18:04. In first place overall,  22-year-old Luke Hickman from Willoughby Hills crossed the finish line with a time of 16:39.

The full listing of results can be found at 

Brianna Figley is a Recreation and Wellness reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].