GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Legacy runner Karl Schmidt says you can credit, or maybe blame, the running craze of the 1970s for his start in the River Bank Run.

He and a group of friends were at a bar after work and decided to run Grand Rapids’ first-ever 25k. They did a practice run of 5 miles and after that, only he and one other guy did the race. Schmidt did more training before the race the next couple of years to improve his time, then says it became a challenge to see if he could do it every year.

He has not looked back. This Saturday, he will step up to the starting line for the 45th time. As for tips for anyone thinking about giving the race a try, Schmidt says younger people can run more than they think. But he encourages older runners to keep up with training and be cautious, especially at the start of the race.

Karl Schmidt has run all 45 River Bank Runs. (File courtesy photo)
Karl Schmidt

These days, Schmidt says the hardest part of the race is training in the cold winter months but has no plans of stopping any time soon.