GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Amway River Bank Run is bringing back the 25K race route that it used for the first time last year.
The 25K course will start headed north on Ottawa Avenue. After crossing the river to the West Side, runners will have an early climb in the Butterworth Hills. When they get back to the east side of the river, there will be a long, flat stretch on Indian Mounds Drive before runners finish on Monroe Avenue in front of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
It essentially reverses the course that was used for decades.
“We are now in a new phase of the event,” race operations director Lauralee Mathieu said at a Monday morning news conference. “The course that we started last year is where everyone will be running. You get the hills out of the way and you have a flat back half of the course and people love it.”
Finish Fest will once again happen inside the DeVos Place Convention Center.
Last year’s men’s champion Leonard Korir is scheduled to return, along with third and fourth place finishers Kiya Dandena and Johnny Crain. On the women’s side, last year’s third place finisher Dakotah Lindwurm and sixth place finisher Molly Bookmyer will return.
The River Bank Run routinely draws as many as 25,000 people to downtown Grand Rapids. Organizers say it remains critical to downtown Grand Rapids.
“It started way back in the ’70s when downtown needed revitalization,” Mathieu said. “It was an easy way to bring a group of people down to be together with the same goal in mind, starting at the start line and finishing at the finish line. That event, they didn’t think it was going to take off and that first event had nearly 1,000 participants and it just grew from there.”
Organizers said they still need volunteers to help run the massive event. You can sign up on the event’s website.
River Bank Run is May 13. News 8 Daybreak starts at 5 a.m. on race day, with live race coverage from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. News 8’s Teresa Weakley and Jack Doles will anchor coverage, joined by seven-time River Bank Run champion Greg Meyer.