Now in its fourth year, the Spartan Homecoming 5k has become something of a tradition. Like all of homecoming, the 5k is a celebration of both our role as Spartan’s and our impact on the community around us. Runners from across the Greater Greensboro area and the state of North Carolina itself gathered here on campus Saturday morning October 22 for the chance to compete for top finisher. This year participants were even able to forego the normal registration fee by donating nonperishable food items to the Spartan Open Pantry. Scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. start, the runners stretched and prepared for the 3.10686 mile race. And when the clock strike 9:00 a.m., the runners were off and the race began.
This year’s route featured a highlight of many of the finer parts of the UNCG campus beginning with the newly opened Leonard J. Kaplan Wellness Center. The course continued towards the center of campus by skirting around the edge of Foust park and heading up College Avenue. Other highlights from this area of the course included a segment that went around the William E. Moran Commons and Plaza and another segment of the race that took place on the Belk Irwin recreational track. After finishing on the recreational track, contestants retraced their way back down College Avenue and Administrative Drive. Contestants finished the race with a quick trot down Forest Street before traveling through the pedestrian underpass as they returned to the Kaplan Wellness Center.
Runner Johan Pennerat, of the UNCG MBA program, ran away with the field this year finishing with a chip time of 18:22, nearly a full thirty seconds quicker than the second-place Aaron Kidd who came in at a time of 18:48. Other notable finishers include top female finisher Alyson Arrington, who finished the race in 22:19, good for eleventh in field of 133 racers. Also of note is racer Kate Wheeler who came in only four seconds behind Alyson Arrington, good enough for second overall female racer, with a chip time of 22:23. The top twenty finishers all finished with a pace time of 7 minutes and 30 seconds or less. Runner Isaiah Rowley led his age group of runners between the ages of 17 and 21 with a time of 19:10. Madison Sampson was the top finisher for the female runners between 17 and 21 with a crisp time of 25:04.
Of further interest were some of the older finishers. In the age group for participants 50 years of age and older, 56 year old George Sykes of Spartanburg, SC finished the 5k in 21:23 good enough for sixth overall in the overall field. For the age group of women 50 years and older, 60 year old Cindy Davidson of Randleman, NC finished first with a time of 38:31. All 133 participants finished in 56 minutes or less this year. All the top finishers were recognized at an award ceremony and pancake brunch (the post run meal of champions) at the Kaplan Wellness Center immediately following the 5K race.
This marks yet another year of growth for the Spartan Homecoming 5k after only 65 and 63 participants in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the field was more than the past two years combined, with an incredible 133 participants this year. This continues the greater overall trend of growth here at UNCG. As with all Homecoming week events we would like to extend our thanks to the many alumni who supported the event and we look forward to seeing everyone next year for the 5th annual Spartan Homecoming 5k.