GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Runners taking part in the Fifth Third River Bank Run’s 25K, 10K or 5K this year will find some extra features at the finish line.
Every year, organizers strive to make the event better. This year, they are focusing on the post-race festivities.
At the end of their race, runners will find an even larger Jumbotron than last year. Race director John Zimmerman says organizers are also adding changing stations so athletes don’t have to make the round trip to DeVos Place before enjoying the festivities.
Fifth Third River Bank Run will also have designated yoga and massage areas and food.
Organizers are also adding to the finish line celebration.
“We have cannons that are going to shoot out confetti on people to help them celebrate their winning or going through the finish line of the 25, 10 or 5K. So it’ll be fun,” said Zimmerman.
Fifth Third River Bank Run is celebrating its 40th year this year. A lot has changed since the first runners toed the line.
“It was a race just to drive people into downtown Grand Rapids. Well, I think we’ve accomplished that,” said Zimmerman.
Now there’s a 25K, 10K, 5K and community walk.
“So there’s a race and an event for anyone,” said Zimmerman.
Race week kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday with the junior race at Wyoming High School. Registration for the run is Tuesday, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Craig’s Cruisers in Wyoming. Runners can also sign up at 4:30 p.m. the day of the race.
“We get thousands of kids that show up for the junior (race), which is kind of like a preview for, ‘OK, practice this, then you’ll be ready for the big race in a couple years,’” said Zimmerman.
From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Fifth Third River Bank Run participants can pick up their packets at the Amway Sports & Fitness Expo at DeVos Place.
“Even if you’re not a runner, it’s a great event to come to. It’s free and you can just check out all the vendors that we have there,” Zimmerman said.
Included in the packet pickup is a clear bag which runners must use to check in their gear on race day.
“It just makes sense. I think all the big races are doing that nowadays,” said Zimmerman.
“We don’t want anyone walking around the festival area with backpacks so it’s got to be clear, it’s got to be see-through,” Zimmerman added.
Fifth Third River Bank Run begins at 7 a.m. Saturday with the 5K run. The 10K run is scheduled for 7:40 a.m., followed by the handcycle and wheelchair races. The 25K run starts at 8:30 a.m.; the community walk is scheduled for 9 a.m.