Retired teacher runs 38th consecutive River Bank Run

Greg Pfent (center) and his family at the 2014 Fifth Third River Bank Run. (File photo)


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A retired high school teacher and coach is run the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K for the 38th time on Saturday.

Greg Pfent is one of 14 remaining anniversary runners who have consecutively run the 25K since it all began in 1978.

Pfent said he signed up for the first River Bank Run at the urging of a friend. He was 29 years old at the time.Greg Pfent file

“You take it a year at a time,” Pfent said. “You never think, ‘I’m going to run 38 of these.’”

At age 66, Pfent is still running, and he says he has a simple goal for race day.

“You know, I just want to finish and finish upright,” he told 24 Hour News 8.

24 Hour News 8 caught up with Pfent during one of his morning runs with his dog, Journey, on a trail in Kentwood.

Pfent has trained for a 25K every year for 38 years, through raising a family, his 35-year teaching career and now in his retirement.

“Usually in the middle of every one of them you go, ‘This is it, I’m not doing this again,'” he said.

Pfent said crossing the finish line keeps him coming back year after year.

“It gives you such a good feeling,” he said. “The community’s so supportive, there (are) people out, they’re yelling. It’s so much fun.”

Pfent still logs how many miles he runs and says that over the decades, he said he’s run more than 25,000 miles.

“I said I’m going to run around the circumference of the Earth, I kept chipping away at it and I got there,” he said.

Pfent said he doesn’t plan on stopping after this year’s Fifth Third River Bank Run, and he would like to complete 40 consecutive races.

“Maybe I’ll drop down to the 10K or 5K or maybe even half K,” Pfent said. “I don’t know, but I want to keep moving.”

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