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May 8, 2013
36th Annual Fifth Third River Bank Run Coming to Grand Rapids
Eva Hattie Schueler
The annual Fifth Third River Bank Run will take place for the 36th consecutive year Saturday, May 11. Over 21,000 participants are expected to make a temporary home in Grand Rapids over the race weekend, which includes a Sports & Fitness Expo on Friday and a post-race party at Calder Plaza following the race on Saturday.  Events at the Friday expo include late registration, packet pick-up, a pasta dinner, a fashion show modeling Gazelle Sports, and a panel discussion.  For those looking for new fitness and sports gear, over 130 vendors are expected to set up shop, making Friday the perfect time to give some serious thought to the purchase of that new pair of running shoes.
After the start of the wheelchair and handcycle 5K race, the Fifth Third 5K will hit the course, starting bright and early at 7:20 a.m. The 10K runners will set off shortly thereafter, and will be followed by the main event—the 25K Fifth Third River Bank Run and the United States 25K Open Championships.
Various other events will be tearing up the streets of Grand Rapids as well. 5K wheelchair and handcycle combined divisions will take off first on Saturday, and will be followed by separate 25K divisions for handcycles and wheelchair racers.  Non-competitive half-mile and one-mile races for kids ages 5-13 will also take place Wednesday, May 8.
Despite now being the largest 25K road race in the country, the Fifth Third River Bank Run comes from humble beginnings.  Originally known as the Old Kent River Bank Run, the second race in 1978 only had a little over 1,000 participants.  However, the number slowly grew from that loyal group of runners, attracting the attention of the U.S.A. Running Circuit (USARC), who have been running alongside the 25K River Run since 1995.
There is still time to take part in this weekend of intense, exhilarating fun in Grand Rapids.  For more information about events and locations, or to register online for the race, please visit the website at
Next Article: May 8, 2013