What you need to know: Fifth Third River Bank Run

River Bank Run
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Fifth Third River Bank Run will take over downtown Grand Rapids for the 40th consecutive year on Saturday.

Whether you plan to come downtown or watch from home, here is what you need to know:


24 Hour News 8 Daybreak will broadcast live from The Media Arts Center at the Grand Rapids Art Museum from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sports Director Jack Doles and seven-time River Bank Run champion Greg Meyer will join the Daybreak team to bring you live coverage of the start and finish of every race.


  • 5K Run: 7 a.m.
  • 10K Run: 7:40 a.m.
  • 25K Handcycle: 8:15 a.m.
  • 25K Wheelchair: 8:16 a.m.
  • 25K Run: 8:18 a.m. (Elite women)/8:30 a.m. (Elite men & rest of field)
  • 5K Walk: 9 a.m.

The race starts at Monroe Avenue and Lyon Street. The finish line is at Ottawa Avenue and Lyon.


Fifth Third River Bank Run’s race within the race will be returning again this year, giving top competitors even more incentive to push their limits.

The group of elite women start the race 11 minutes and 30 seconds before the group of elite men, which is the average difference for finishing times between the two groups.

For 25 kilometers, the men will close the gap and try to catch up to the top female contenders.Whoever crosses the finish line first takes home an extra $2,500 dollars.

When Fifth Third River Bank Run began its race within the race in 2015, the men made up the time. Jared Ward passed Lindsey Scherf in the final 200 meters of the race, with the finish line in sight.

Last year, the women showed they shouldn’t be underestimated. Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton kept the men in check, beating Christo Landry to the line by nearly a minute.

This year, 24 Hour News 8 will be using GPS to track the course leaders and see who will take home the bonus money and bragging rights.


River Bank Run participants have had to endure a variety of conditions over the years.

The warmest Fifth Third River Bank Run was in 1985 when Grand Rapids hit a high of 82 degrees. In stark contrast was the 2002 race, when a temperature of 35 degrees greeted runners at the starting line.

During seven of the past eight years, it has rained on race day. But this year, Storm Team 8 expects conditions during the race to remain dry with mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies.

Humidity levels will be around 80 percent to start the day, but should drop during the race. A light north wind should help keep runners cool.

Temperatures should be around 50 degrees at the start of the race and rise to mid to upper 50s by the end of Fifth Third River Bank Run.


A number of streets will close along the course Saturday morning. Check out the full list of closures online.


The best advice is to try to park south of the course downtown. Roads remain open throughout the morning to the ramps at Monroe Center and Ottawa/Fulton. If you’re willing to walk a little further, you can easily get in and out of the parking lots around Van Andel Arena. Additional parking information can be found at the River Bank Run website.


Runners can check their gear on race morning at DeVos Place from 6 a.m. to noon. Runners will receive a clear gear check bag when picking up their bib and T-shirt. Participants must use the official gear bag to check items.


If you make your way downtown as a spectator, the best places to watch the race are at the start and finish lines. If you’re interested in seeing the race along the course, there are two key spots:

  • John Ball Park
    • 10K: 8:10-8:35 a.m.
    • 25K: 8:50-11:30 a.m.
  • Johnson Park
    • 25K: 8:30-10 a.m.

>>Online: A map to spectator hot spots


After the race runners can enter their bib number on woodtv.com to watch and share video of themselves crossing the finish line.


For most runners, finishing the River Bank Run is more about accomplishing a goal than taking home a big check. However, for the top athletes in this year’s race, a total of $116,400 is up for grabs.

The top male and female finishers in the 25K each win $10,000. There are also bonuses for winning the “race within the race” and setting a world record. See the full breakdown online.

Have more questions? Check out the online River Bank Run Event Guide.

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