Runners of all ages and abilities donned their sneakers to participate in the Golden Grizzlies 5k/10k Run and Walk on September 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Elaine Leigh Track & Field Complex, located on the campus of the University of Oakland. All proceeds from the event will support OU’s cross country and track and field programs.
Despite the rainy weather throughout the week, the outdoor conditions were perfect on race morning. With a light breeze and the temperature hovering around 60 degrees, the runners felt ready to beat their personal bests.
Participants gathered in groups, performing numerous gymnastic stretches. Several individuals took slow jogging laps around the upper fields to warm up their muscles.
Runners organized themselves by mile pace on the start line – with seasoned competitors taking on the front of the pack, while newbie amateur joggers filed behind. As the minutes ticked by, they put on their headphones, rechecked the course map, and talked.
The race started at 9:30 a.m., sending runners jostling a 3.1-mile loop around campus. Despite the hilly terrain, attendees enjoyed seeing the sights and scenery around the beautiful UO campus.
“Running past Elliott Tower and Meadow Brook Mansion were easily the highlights of the race,” said OU Running Club President John Sidwell. “The Golden Grizzlies 5k was the perfect opportunity for the OU Running Club to host our first race of the year in a convenient and familiar location.”
The finish line of the race was located on the track of the athletics complex. At the end of their run, participants were greeted with a variety of snacks, water, and an OU-themed backdrop for photos.
Grizz also made an appearance at the race, handing out high-fives and posing for photo ops. Meanwhile, The Little Donut Factory hosted a food truck at the event, selling delicious treats like donuts, cider and coffee.
“From start to finish, the race was extremely well organized and had all the necessary pre and post race amenities,” said Sidwell. “Our newbie runners and our experienced runners all had an amazing time!”
OU’s cross country teams entered the 2022 season in high spirits as a preseason poll of Horizon League coaches ranked the women’s program #1 and the men’s program #3. The women’s team was ranked No. 13 in the region after the United States NCAA Division I Great Lakes Regional Poll of Athletics and Cross Country (USTFCCCA).
As the fall progressed, both teams won a host of team and individual titles, making the build-up to their league championship a highly anticipated event. Fortunately, students will be able to experience the end of the season for themselves, as the OU will host the Horizon League Cross Country Championships on Saturday, October 29 this year.