Track & field and cross country host Golden Grizzlies 5k/10k

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Brady

Runners of all ages and abilities laced up their sneakers to participate in the Golden Grizzlies 5k/10k Run & Walk

Payton Bucki, Campus Reporter

Runners of all ages and abilities laced up their sneakers to participate in the Golden Grizzlies 5k/10k Run & Walk on Sept. 25 from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Elaine Leigh Track & Field Complex, located on Oakland University’s campus. All proceeds from the event will support OU’s Cross Country and Track & Field programs.

Despite the rainy weather throughout the week, the outside conditions were perfect the morning of the race. With a slight breeze and a temperature that hovered around 60 degrees, runners felt prepared to crush their personal record times.

Participants gathered in groups, completing numerous calisthenics stretches. Several individuals slowly jogged laps around the upper fields to warm their muscles.

Runners organized themselves by mile pace on the start line — with seasoned competitors assuming the front of the pack, while rookie hobby joggers filed in behind. As the minutes ticked down, they popped in their earbuds, double-checked the course map and gave each other pep talks.

The race began at 9:30 a.m., sending runners hustling a 3.1-mile loop around campus. Despite the hilly terrain, participants enjoyed viewing the sites and scenery around OU’s beautiful campus.

“Running past Elliott Tower and Meadow Brook Mansion were easily the highlights of the race,” OU Running Club President John Sidwell said. “The Golden Grizzlies 5k was the perfect opportunity for the OU Running Club to host our first race of the year in a convenient, familiar location.”

The finish line for the race was located on the track at the Track & Field Complex. Upon completing 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 yummy treats like donuts, cider and coffee.

“From start to finish, the race was extremely well organized and had all the right amenities pre- and post-race,” Sidwell said. “Our first-time racers and experienced runners all had an amazing time!”

The OU Cross Country teams entered the 2022 season in high spirits, as a pre-season Horizon League coaches’ poll ranked the women’s program No. 1 and the men’s program No. 3. Recently, the women’s team was ranked No. 13 in the region after the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division I Great Lakes Regional Poll.

As the fall progressed, both teams won a slew of team and individual titles, making the lead up to their league championship a highly anticipated event. Luckily, students will be able to experience the conclusion of the season themselves, since OU will be hosting the Horizon League Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29 of this year.