PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – For the third time in four seasons, former Shawnee State cross country and track athlete Eli Gerlach took home the overall victory at the Shawnee State University Bear Run while current Bear harrier Megan Ashton took home the top billing for the women in the 41st version of the event, which was held on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the SSU campus.
As a whole, a total of 592 runners participated in the Fall 2015 Bear Run, which marked the 21st time that the SSU Athletic Department has had a Bear Run during the fall season.
This fall’s Bear Run marked the 20th year since the first-ever Bear Run was held back in the Fall of 1995, where just over 200 individuals finished the initial running of the event.
With his overall time of 15:23, Gerlach edged current Shawnee State University track participant Breydon Gates by 16 seconds and equaled his winning time in the Spring 2014 Bear Run in the process.
Gerlach also joins an elite list of company with the victory at the Fall 2015 Bear Run. In winning the event – which was the former harrier’s third in the last four Bear Runs – Gerlach joins Eric Putnam, Brian Putnam, and John Williams as the only males to win three overall Bear Runs.
In the female category, Ashton etched her name amongst the all-time winners of the Bear Run as the junior from Proctorville, Ohio ran a time of 18:16 to take home the top billing in the female category.
With her victory at the 2015 Fall Bear Run, Ashton becomes the 24th different female to emerge victories on the women’s side. Ashton also joined Gates in winning the Larry Mangus Award, which is given to the top male and female runners in each Bear Run.
Gates, a native of Belpre, Ohio, used a time of 18:39 to obtain runner-up honors in the Fall Bear Run. The senior joined Gerlach as the only pair of runners to finish in the top five in both of the Bear Run events held in 2015.