Dozens of athletes take part in Merrill’s Black Squirrel Scurry triathlon

By Tina L. Scott

MMC Staff

MERRILL – Merrill’s Black Squirrel Scurry is a triathlon that combines running, biking and kayaking in a fun race for charity.

Considered a “paddling triathlon,” the Saturday, July 29 race encompassed two miles of paddling kayaks on the Prairie River, a 19-mile biking adventure on area roads and a 5K-run on a pedestrian trail.

Dozens of athletes gathered to take on the challenge, including those who raced as individuals or in tandem or relay teams. Racers included many northcentral Wisconsin residents and other athletes from as far away as Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa.

One leg of the triathlon involves paddling a two-mile stretch of the Prairie River. Contributed photo.

Individual racers ranged in age from 14 to 71, with Merrill’s 14-year-old Erik Grunenwald being the youngest competitor and the only athlete under age 18. He came in at a very respectable time of 1:59:59.

For the tandem teams, Team Owl took first place with a time of 3:54:54.

For relay teams, the Mighty Midgets took first place, completing the course with a time of 1:56:27.

For individuals competing, Gerard Lauzen of Ironwood, Mich., took first place overall and for the men with a time of 1:35:29, while Melissa Omernick of Gleason took first place for the women with a time of 2:02:53.

The Northwoods Veterans Post and Friends of the River Bend Trail are the beneficiaries of this year’s event.

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Dana Klug of Merrill crosses the finish line after completing the Black Squirrel Scurry triathlon. Photo by Joseph Frederick.
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