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Run on M-231 given green light for second year

Alex Doty • Jul 16, 2016 at 1:00 PM

It’s not maintenance or an emergency that will shut down the recently opened M-231 for part of the day this coming October.

Instead, it will be Ottawa County’s M23.1K Run & Relay — an event that’s returning for a second year following last year’s inaugural run that allowed runners to be among the first to use the new highway.

Ottawa County spokeswoman Shannon Felgner said the success of last year’s run was the driving factor in bringing it back.

“In fact, 99 percent of runners said, if given the chance, they would participate again,” Felgner said. “We surely hope this is the case. Having an annual community run is something that Ottawa County has been considering for a few years. M-231 was the vehicle to do it.”

Along with showcasing a little-known area of the county, the run promotes healthy activity, raises funds to put toward paved pathways, brings visitors to the area and creates a sense of community, Felgner noted.

Participants will be able to choose from a 23.1k run or relay. The three-person relay offers legs between 5k and 10k, split over the same 23.1k course — which equals 14.35 miles.

The road will be closed to traffic on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 1, for the event. Felgner said the county will provide details on the times and such as the date approaches.

“At longest, it will be from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. — but in reality, it will be shorter,” she said. “The only change is that runners will be running south first, then north — primarily because of the mental anguish experienced when running past the finish at mile 13.5 in order to U-turn and finish the 14.35 miles.”

Registration for this year’s run opened Friday at miOttawa.org. Participation is capped at 500 people.

“Last year, we capped at 300 and sold out within two weeks,” Felgner said. “The relay offers opportunities for runners who prefer shorter distances — so there may be even more interest this year.”

Through July 31, the price to register is $40. The cost goes up progressively until the end of September. Participants will receive quarter-zip shirts, finisher medals, age-group awards and a post-race party.

Those who are not runners are invited to be spectators, and volunteer opportunities are also available. Those interested in helping can email mcunningham@miOttawa.org.

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