the Scorchin’ Squirrel

The Return of the Scorchin’ Squirrel

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The Scorchin’ Squirrel is back on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at 7 am at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center in Little Rock. This will be the fourth year for this trail run. Whether you want to run a 10k, 11 miler, 15-miler, or 20-miler, this trail race has you covered.

the Scorchin’ SquirrelThis race started in 2018. One day Joel Gill (Ferncliff Camp Director) and Noelle Coughlan (Fleet Feet Little Rock Owner) were discussing the beauty of the Ferncliff campus. Joel mentioned that he was training for ultras and would love to share the property with other trail runners. They decided to organize a race.

“Squirrel…It was clearly a killer and coming right for me!” Ken Myers

Noelle came up with the initial name of “Squirrelathon” since she saw a man wearing a “Bearathon” shirt at Athens-Big Fork Aid Station. The “Squirrel” reference is a bit of a joke. On one of the first Fleet Feet Run Dirty Trail Runs (a free Saturday trail running group that meets at different locations around Little Rock) in Allsopp Park, other runners saw Ken Myers jump in the air. With such a reaction, the question was what was it…A snake, a bear, a wild boar????? Inquiring minds wanted to know. The somewhat bashful response was, “Squirrel.”  Myer’s official stance on the Allsop sighting is, “It was clearly a killer and coming right for me!”

Ever the good sport, Ken has been putting up with squirrel jokes for years. We decided it best to name this race after the joke since the course in 2018 was definitely, “squirrely” in nature. It involved a slippery slide, lots of hills, and a zig-zag all around the Ferndale campus.

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The following year, the course became easier to run for the directionally challenged. It also allows runners to know the distance between aid stations and know when hydration/food is near. It is still a challenge as the runners can do as many loops as they want but must run up the big hill that has no switchbacks before getting to the end. Some might just get more loops in to avoid the big hill. There is definitely a love/hate relationship between the runners and the hill.

This year the Scorchin’ Squirrel is part of the Arkansas Ultra Trail Series. We spoke with Stacey Shaver-Matson, president of AURA, about why this race was added to the series. She said Joel invited her and a few other trail runners to preview the Scorchin’ Squirrel course and they all had so much fun running through the Ferncliff campus. The course was beautiful, challenging, and new to them. According to Shaver-Matson, “Most of our Ultra Trail Series and UTS Lite events are club owned. Adding events not under our management is always well thought out and must meet a series of criteria. This event checked all the boxes: runner safety, stocked aid stations, offers multiple distances, is a non-profit, the race director is active in our club, and promotes a love and respect for the outdoors, our trail systems, and our community. A really cool shirt, a cookout, and a post-race pool party are just icing on the cake!”

Fleet Feet Little Rock

For more information about The Scorchin’ Squirrel contact Joel Gill at 501-772-9707 or Noelle Coughlan at 501-221-0017 or go to Ferncliff Scorchin’ Squirrel and register today.

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For more upcoming running events, visit our calendar.

The Community Bicyclist

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