The annual Cat Trail 5k Race took place on a beautiful Saturday morning, April 7, with a little over 50 runners coming out to show their Bobcat spirit.
The Running Club inspired this event; they believed that an event that promoted wellness would be a great addition for both the local community and the university.
In comparison to past years, this year had by far the biggest turnout. Despite the event occurring during Easter weekend, there was a successful turnout. According to Hannah Brown, the event coordinator for the race, approximately 2 months were spent on preparation, with the help of everyone at the Recreation Center.
“Every year there are more and more participants, this year it [was] bigger than I had anticipated,” said the Director of Recreations and Athletics, David Dunham.
Participants included faculty, staff, students, and members of the Merced community. This event keeps the community engaged with the university, and also creates a fun weekend for the students. In addition, it gives the runners a chance to go to a sporting event that encourages wellness, a little competition, and the chance to bond with fellow participants are also factors.
The participants began by running Scholars Lane, giving them time to see the campus. Once they hit Lake Road, they turned left onto the bike path, and turn back around when they hit Cardella Road. This run gave the students and the community ample time to run a scenic route to see the development of the campus.
This event included participants of all ages, though the Recreation Center broke up participants into three age groups: 17 and under, 18-40, and 41 and up. At the end, each category was then divided into male and female groupings, and those participants with the top running times were awarded medals for their efforts.
The top male runners from the 17 and under age group were the following: Patrick Grey in First Place (18:10), Justin Pearce in Second Place (19:42). The top female runners in this age group were Sarah Miranda in First Place (21:24), and Chloe Polzine in Second Place (41:26).
The top male runners for the 18-40 age group were Eduardo Valadez in First Place (17:56), Jeshua Hopson in Second Place (18:36), and Nicholas Stefanyshyn in Third Place (19:20). The top female runners in this age group were Sharai Kirk in First Place (22:14), Carrisa Hansford in Second Place (24:06), and Alicia Smith in Third Place (25:10).
Last, but not least, is the 41 and over category. The top male runners for this age group were Matt Sidemer in First Place (22:47), Frank Miranda in Second Place (24:04), and Kelly Hobbs in Third Place (24:36). The top female runners for this age group were Jennifer Nicholson in First Place (23:46), Mary Avalle in Second Place (24:43), and Diane Silguero in Third Place (28:39).
All of the aforementioned competitors received honorary medals to reward their hard work. Eduardo Valadez (17:56) was the top male runner, and Sarah Miranda (21:24) was the top female runner at the fifth annual Cat Trail 5k race. In addition to the medals earned in their respective categories, they both received an engraved glass mug to showcase their victory.
“The goal every year is to see significant growth in our participant numbers” said Event Coordinator Brown.