by Bri Kilroy
You would be hard-pressed to find someone in Grand Rapids who hasn’t been hearing about 2016’s Fifth Third River Bank Run since registration opened last November. A race this big warrants months of anticipation, and over 18,000 different running stories share the similarity of connecting at this paramount event and landmark of how far each runner has come since the idea to start running first wandered into their minds.
“Overall, the Fifth Third River Bank Run represents individuals achieving a goal,” John Zimmerman, race director of Fifth Third River Bank Run said. Being involved with the yearlong project of implementing the country’s largest 25K road race exposes Zimmerman to the diverse reasons people choose to run the race.
“They’ll run for a loved one fighting an illness, tradition, personal connection,” he listed. “Whether you do the 5K or the 25K, you’re accomplishing something phenomenal, and that’s something worth celebrating.”
Case in point: everyone is triumphant at the Fifth Third River Bank Run. To ratify the reminder, Fifth Third Bank race organizers developed the post-race Finish Fest happening 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Calder Plaza. Zimmerman explained that the Finish Fest is a celebration for everyone; regardless of what time someone finishes their race, there will be a crowd at the finish line cheering them on.
The plaza serves as a space where loved ones, supporters, spectators and racers can gather under a large jumbotron TV with live feed from the finish line and replenish with concessions sold by Buffalo Wild Wings and Perrin Brewing Company beer. If you are still on the fence about signing up to run, consider that race participants get a free drink ticket with their bib.
“A lot of people said they wanted home-grown microbrew,” Zimmerman said when discussing responses he received on improving the event. “We’re Beer City USA, so it only makes sense to support local businesses and wear this title with pride!”
Thus, a partnership with Perrin Brewing Company ensued, and those of you who’ve attended the monthly Perrin No Problems Training Runs (last one is May 10, 6:30 p.m.) can confirm they followed through with their “beer” promise.
Now that you know what you’re doing after the River Bank Run, prepare for it the right way by downloading an exclusive Noodles and Company coupon at 53RiverBankRun.com under the “Event” tab and carbo-load like a boss, May 12. Visit the Sports & Fitness Expo May 13, 11 a.m.-8 p.m at DeVos Place to receive your race bib and check out the vendor booths displaying the latest running trends, fashion and gear paired with special deals.
Get connected with one of the top community engagement events in Michigan. Visit 53RiverBankRun.com for River Bank Run’s history, volunteer opportunities, upcoming training runs, event day information, and of course, to sign up.
- What: Fifth Third River Bank Run 5K, 10K & 25K
- Where: Corner of Monroe Avenue and Lyon Street NW
- When: May 14, 7 am-2 pm (note different starting times) 5K run: 7 am; 10K run: 7:40 am; 25K Handcycle and Wheelchair division: 8:15 am; 25K run: 8:30 am; 5K walk: 9 am
- Registration: $25-$60 at 53RiverBankRun.com
Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumna who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.