GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. ( May 9, 2014) — This year, more than 20,000 people are expected to take part in the Fifth Third River Bank Run.
On Friday, runners signed in and got their t-shirts. On top of that, runners where also able to take part in the annual pasta dinner to load up on those carbs. before the race.
Amelia Gritter from Grandville said that in recent years, she decided to take up running to help get into shape. Saturday’s race will be her first.
“I started running about three years ago, so I just gradually started walking and started running, and each day kind of added a mile. Now, I got my distance up so, it actually takes me about three miles to get into the groove of things,” said Gritter.
Boston Marathon winner Greg Meyer, who has also won the Fifth Third 25k several times said that rain or shine, runners are ready to hit the starting line.
“It’s going to be a great day to run. It’s going to be in the 50’s at the start. It may touch 60 by the time the slowest people are finishing. A little bit of clouds helps keep the sun off of you. It should be a safe day,” said Meyer.
Runners said that staying hydrated is key, so several beverage stations along with medical personnel will be set up every couple of miles along the race’s course.
“There’s not too many 25k’s that you can run and the distance is great. It’s not a full marathon, so it doesn’t take it all out of you, but it is a longer distance and with myself getting ready training in June, this is a great tune up and a great opportunity to kind of see where my fitness is,” said runner Brianne Nelson.
Also new this year, a company from the east side of the state has developed real time score technology, allowing a racer’s time to post to an electronic board within minutes of finishing.
“It’s the age of technology and people want quicker and in the now. We are in the now phase, you know you are always on your phone, you are always on your smart phone looking up something. This is a way to engage people that are living in the moment. Family and friends can be at the finish line and take a look to see where they are on the course and they could be downtown somewhere and can get back to the finish line in time to see them finish, so there’s some nice features to it,” said Joe O’Brien with Classic Race Management.
Gritter said that whether she finishes with an impressive time or not, completing the big race is enough to inspire her to continue her passion for running.
“A lot of my friends are runners, but some of my family, my little sister hates running, so she kind of thinks I’m a little crazy, but I’m excited to be able to say I’ve done this,” said Gritter.
The first race starts just after 7 a.m. on Saturday morning in downtown Grand Rapids.