GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The city of Grand Rapid is busy with last-minute preparations Friday as thousands are expected to head to the 45th Annual Amway River Bank Run.
There are a plethora of races this year including the 5K walk and run, the 10K, 25K and special wheelchair and handcycle races.
The 25K race this year is a different route from previous years due to construction in downtown Grand Rapids. Interestingly, the route this year resembles the route racers had in the 1970s when the race first kicked off, giving racers more of the hills in the beginning of the race rather than at the end. Thirty-six elite racers will be participating the 25K race including previous River Bank Run winners and world record holders.
The races kick off at 7 a.m. with festivities happening until 2 p.m. Saturday.
The wheelchair and handcycle races are the only ones of their kind in the world. Race director David Madiol says River Bank Run is the only race in the world with a wheelchair division. 30 racers from across the world will be participating.
Madiol suggests racers hydrate well through the day, as temperatures are expected to get into the 70's Saturday. Water stations will be along the route to help racers hydrate during the race. All non-racers should be aware of road closures Saturday as the streets of downtown will be closed to accommodate racers. Travelers should plan ahead to take alternate routes to get in and out of the city.
The race is expected to be at about 65 percent capacity as it was before the pandemic as it returns to its usual schedule in May of every year.
A press conference is scheduled Friday for 10 a.m. with 15 of the elite racers and organizers. Sign-up for races is still available in-person throughout the day Friday but not online. The Amway River Bank Run clinic will be at open at Devos Hall Friday until 8 p.m.