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GCU Running Club: Zoo Move and Groove 5k

Co-Ed Running athletes smile together
March 12, 2020

Lopes place finishers for second year in a row

By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff

The Grand Canyon University Running Club competed in the wildest run in the Valley at the Zoo Move and Groove 5K, spanning the Phoenix Zoo, on Saturday. This was the Lopes’ second year in the race among a sea of over 1,000 runners, and the Lopes placed five runners in the top five of their age group.  

The Zoo Move and Groove 5K is in its fourth year at the Phoenix Zoo for a day of fun and fitness. This year the race focused on bringing the meerkats to the Zoo and building a habitat.

“With each runner entry fee, it went towards building a new meerkat habitat,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kim Weeldreyer. “The student-athletes also got an entry into the zoo after the race, and had fun—especially those who have never been to the Phoenix Zoo.”

Leading the way for GCU was Kade Lewis, who recorded a great time at 17 minutes and 32 seconds. Lewis placed third in his age group (Male 18), as well as taking third overall out of 1,064 runners.

“The runners on this team are all talented runners, which makes coaching them easy” said Weeldreyer. “They know their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to training, and it helps that they are competitive. They own their race performances beginning to end, so I end up just being their cheerleader on race day.”

Lopes’ Kaylee Padour competed last year in the race and placed fifth in her age group (Female 21) this year. Padour had an 18th place finish overall. 

Running their first race was Lopes Ryan McQuillan, Jaimeson King, Dafne Jimenez and Cheyenne Archuleta.

Take a look below at how all the Lopes finished in their respective races.

GCU Running Club 5K Standouts   

Kade Lewis 5k M18 3rd 17:32 3rd overall
5k M20 4th 18:03 4th overall
5k M20 5th 19:21 5th overall
5k F19 3rd 21:31 13th overall
5k F21 5th 22:09 18th overall

The Lost Dutchman Half Marathon

Two Lopes’ runners joined over 700 others at the starting line of the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Apache Junction on Feb. 16. Returner Ryan McQuillan and Faith Blackburn competed in the race for the Lopes.

“This was a new race for both Ryan and Faith,” said Weeldreyer. “They both ran well.”

Lopes’ runner Ryan McQuillan, who raced his first half marathon, finished the race with a good time of 1:28:15.

Out of 772 participants, McQuillan was 12th overall and placed third in his age group. Blackburn was 53rd overall, first in her age group, with a time of 1:41:19.

“I am most proud of my team’s desire to challenge themselves race after race,” said Weeldreyer. “It’s great to see runners who are so used to racing 5K’s jump into racing a half-marathon or a marathon for their first time. It’s great to see how well the team gets together.”

The Lopes will now prepare for the Kiss Me I’m Irish Marathon on March 14.

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