‘We’re back’ |  Health beat

‘We’re back’ | Health beat

Thousands of avid runners gathered on Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids this morning for the start of the 44th Amway River Bank Run.

Eight hundred and ninety-six days have passed since the last personal River Bank Run, so this is fantastic, said Russ Hines, CEO of River Bank Run and Media. “We’re really excited to see people back in downtown Grand Rapids.”

While the event usually attracts 12,000 to 15,000 runners, the field this year was about half as large. The organizers were nevertheless satisfied.

In the run-up to the race, they touted limited touchpoints and plenty of space for social distancing. All aspects of the race, including the collection of registration packages, took place outdoors.

“This was our chance to get over the hump and show that we can do this in a safe and intelligent way,” said Race Director David Madiol. The 2020 race was completely virtual. This year’s race has been postponed from the traditional second Saturday in May.

Spectrum Health has been the official health partner and medical provider of the run since 2018. Almost 60 providers from Spectrum Health Orthopedics were on hand to help any runner who needed help before, during or after the race. Another 50 Spectrum Health volunteers manned drinking stations and helped in other ways.

The 5K runners first started at sunrise when the temperature subsided until the mid-1940s. In addition to the 5km, the River Bank Run offers a 10km and 25km run, a 5km walk and 25km race for handcyclists and wheelchair users.

“The River Bank Run is always a great race for paracyclists,” said Steve Chapman, a Cedar Springs resident who has become a rock star among handcyclists. He recently finished second in the Boston Marathon and also finished second in this year’s River Bank Run.

“The River Bank Run was my very first race,” said Chapman, who started handwheeling 15 years ago.

The run is the largest 25-kilometer run in the country and the only 25-kilometer run in the world with a wheelchair section.

This year’s event also included a post-race wedding. Two longtime runners wearing a combination of running and formal attire tied the knot after completing the 10km.

Even before today’s event, the organizers have prepared for the 45th race, which is to take place on May 14, 2022. Training runs will begin in December, sponsored by Spectrum Health.

“We’re back,” said Madiol.

Results of this year’s race and information about next year’s event can be found at amwayriverbankrun.com.

Thank You For Reading!

Reference: healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org


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