River Bank Run course is dry, ready for race

Fifth Third River Bank Run officials during a news conference on May 3, 2017.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 40th annual Fifth Third River Bank Run in downtown Grand Rapids is 10 days away.

Race officials announced during a news conference Wednesday the course is dry and flooding is not expected to impact the route on May 13.

Nearly 20,000 runners are expected to pound the pavement, including U.S. Olympian and Rockford-native Dathan Ritzenhein who will be competing in the 25K for the first time.

“I’m going for the win. Absolutely. I’m running this race thinking I’m going to win. You have to go in knowing that you have the capability and believing in yourself,” Ritzenhein said.

Ritzenhein will have stiff competition, including last year’s winner Christo Landry.

The shirts and medals for 2017 Fifth Third River Bank Run finishers on display on May, 3, 2017.

“I also have a healthy respect for the competition that they’ve put together here. It won’t be an easy one by any chance, but at the same time I feel good about where I’m at, I just wish I had a couple of more weeks of good hard workouts,” Ritzenhein said.

Elite Runner Director Greg Meyer announced the last two 25K female winners, Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton and Lindsey Scherf, will return to run the course this year.

“It’s grown into something that changed the athletic culture in Grand Rapids. The fitness that takes place in this area started because of the River Bank Run,” Meyer said.

Race officials said Wednesday they are still looking for volunteers. If you are interested, you can sign up to volunteer online.

In previous years, Ritzenhein has joined 24 Hour News 8 commentate for our live coverage of the Fifth Third River Bank Run.

This year, Daybreak anchors Teresa Weakley and Casey Jones and Sports Director Jack Doles will be joined by seven-time River Bank Run winner Greg Meyer.

“24 Hour News 8 Daybreak” will broadcast live from the Grand Rapids Art Museum WOOD TV8 Media Arts Center from 5 a.m. 10 a.m. on WOOD TV8 and woodtv.com.