Black Squirrel Scurry has contestants paddling, pedaling, and on the run


One contestant is focused as he paddles down the Prairie River during the water component of the Black Squirrel Scurry.

On Saturday, July 30, 2022, both local contestants and some who traveled in for the race from neighboring states, were paddling, pedaling, and running in and just north of Merrill in the Fifth Annual Black Squirrel Scurry. In total, 44 contestants paddled down the Prairie River, pedaled 17.5 miles on the roads north of town, and then ran 3.2 miles through the Merrill Area Recreation Complex and Council Grounds State Park, according to Greg Eichelkraut, Race Director.
“36 contestants did the whole course themselves joined by three relay teams,” Eichelkraut said.
The competition and results were broken down into age brackets and gender.
Overall fastest finisher and also the top male finisher, Gerard Lauzon of Ironwood, Mich., completed the race in 1:38:48 (that’s one hour, thirty-eight minutes, and 48 seconds). The fastest and top female to complete the course, and also the fourth highest finisher overall, was Nicole Bathe of Minneapolis, Minn., who finished with a time of 1:47:37.
Second overall finisher and fastest local male competitor to finish, Josh McCaskill of Merrill, clocked in with a time of 1:43:02. Morgan Roberts of Merrill represented the local ladies as the fastest local female competitor with a time of 2:03:13, and she also came in 11th in the race overall.
Ian Schuetze of Merrill took honors for both fastest “age 19 and younger” competitor and 9th finisher overall in the race, with a time of 2:01:21.
Erik Grunenwald of Merrill was the youngest racer to compete. At age 13, he came in at 2:03:08 and finished 10th overall.
Gerald and Mary Raino of Plainfield, Illinois, were the two oldest competitors, both age 70. They finished overall in 27th and 29th places, respectively.
Of the three relay teams, the Marshfield Clinic team took the honors for the fastest all male relay team and first place relay team overall with a time of 1:46:51. Team “Faking It” of Gleason was the fastest local relay team to complete the race, clocking in at 2:06:08.
Complete race results are available at:
The Black Squirrel Scurry is a charity event. This year, proceeds “will benefit the Northwoods Veterans Post and Friends of the River Bend Trail,” Eichelkraut said.
“Numerous groups, individuals, city departments, and county departments volunteered to make this race possible,” he said. The combined effort of all made for a great race on a picture-perfect day, as far as the weather, and resulted in approximately $1,500 in charitable proceeds. The exact numbers have not yet been finalized. A formal presentation to the recipients is planned for a later date.

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