HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A man from West Michigan who competed in the Boston Marathon seven years ago brought back what he learned and started a race of his own.
Now in its sixth year, the Holland Haven Marathon features three separate races run on the same course from Grand Haven to Holland simultaneously.
Race Director and Founder Eddie Kline said that keeps his day interesting.
“For me, it’s head on a swivel,” he said. “One minute I’m working on porta-johns and the next minute I’m working on where’s the buses are at. It’s always something new. Always exciting.”
The race, Kline explained, is a precursor to the Boston Marathon. Runners can qualify to go to Boston if they complete the Holland Haven quickly enough.
“We’re doing this race today because it’s the day before registration for Boston opens,” Kline said. “Boston is going to open tomorrow on Monday and so people from across the county, some from across the globe are going to run today, sign up tomorrow. So that’s a big deal.”
Like the Boston Marathon, Kline’s race features a “point-to-point” run that ensures racers never see the same scenery twice.
“It keeps it all fresh for these runners,” Kline said. “Running right along Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa when they get closer to Holland. It’s just like how they do it in Boston. You ride out on a bus and you run back to Boston. We do the same thing here. We put the runners on a bus from Holland, they ride 26 miles, they run back.”
For the first time this year, the event included an after-party at the recently renovated Holland Civic Center, where there was free food and drink for finishers. Kline said the goal was to attract more runners and make race day even more memorable.
“We’ve expanded our after-party, expanded our width of the race, more people, more vendors, a bigger band, more music, bigger party, more food,” Kline said. “Just everything has gotten bigger and more exciting.”