Lopes place seven Top 5 Finishes among race’s age groups
By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff
The Grand Canyon University Running Club came back for more. Even a Double Stack.
The Lopes ate their way through the 42nd Annual Runner’s Den Pancake Run Sunday at Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix, and earned seven Top 5 finishes in their respective age groups. This was the Lopes’ second year participating in the race among a sea of over 2,000 runners.
“My runners are very well-disciplined and goal-oriented,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kim Weeldreyer. “It makes coaching them so much fun. To assist these runners with their race goals, I provide them with a weekly training schedule each week.”
The Runner’s Den Pancake Run is one of the oldest and most popular events on the Valley running calendar. Every year, runners come to enjoy a good race, served up with an IHOP pancake breakfast.
“(We) were excited about the pancake breakfast, and the weather was perfect for racing,” said Weeldreyer. “This was the team’s first year to have individuals participate in the Double Stack, which is to run a 10k first, then turn around and run a 5k about 45 minutes later.”
For the majority of the Lopes, it was their first Double Stack race—making practice crucial.
“On Saturdays, they are required to do a long run based on their ability levels and training for upcoming road races,” said Weeldreyer. “They do cross training, core training, rehab exercises and maintaining healthy eating and hydration habits to prepare.”
GCU’s Kade Lewis (16:59 finish) and Dafne Jimenez (20:19 finish) ran their first 5k. Out of 1,304 entries, Lewis was 10th overall and finishedthird in his age group, also beating his own personal best time of 17 minutes.
“We last competed in 2018,” said Weeldreyer. “Since then, we have a lot of new student-athletes on the team – with this being their first race competing and racing in either the 5k or the Double Stack.”
Lopes’ Kaylee Padour, Jenna Miller, Faith Blackburn, Tanner Bohlender, Cheyenne Archuleta and Rachel Luca had Top 10 finishes in the Double Stack.
“It was great to see the student-athletes challenge themselves in the Double Stack,” said Weeldreyer. “They do a great job training either on their own or with their teammates.”
GCU Running Club Contenders
The Lopes next race will be on Feb. 16 at The Lost Dutchman Marathon in Tempe.