Patriot's Day Run to take place under the lights

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Sporting events taking place under the lights is nothing new for football and soccer teams, but for a cross country race?

That’s exactly what the Grand Haven High School cross country program has planned for Friday’s Patriots Day/Pigeon Creek 5K Twilight Run.

The event has previously been held in the early-morning hours at Grand Haven High School. This year, the run will start at 9:15 p.m. on the lighted trails at Pigeon Creek Park, located at 12425 Stanton St. in West Olive.

“Coaches Scott Przystas and Shannon Mitchell and I have been talking about how to change this race to make it more of an attraction, so we came up with this idea to have it in Pigeon Creek at night,” said Buccaneers’ boys cross country coach John Tarr. “The officials at Pigeon Creek have been great about it, and only agreed to host it because the race is a fundraiser for the kids. We really appreciate it.

“Anyone who has skied out there in the winter at night knows how beautiful it is, so we thought it would make the race unique and possibly make it a destination race in the future.”

A 1,000-meter run for children will start at 9 p.m., followed by the main event, the 5K race, at 9:15.

The race will be electronically timed by Runners Edge Race Timing. Runners are encouraged to register online at GoRaceGo.com.

Registration cost for all runners is $25 before the race and $30 for those registering on race day. Day-of registration will be available at the lodge in Pigeon Creek until 8:30 p.m. Registration includes a T-shirt.

Three medals will be awarded in each age group.

The Patriots Day/Pigeon Creek 5K race is part of the West Michigan Race Series, which also includes the Kick-Off to Summer Run, the Heritage Festival Race, the Seaway Run, and the Coast Guard Run.

The series calculates and combines points and finishes for all the races and crowns an overall champion at the Coast Guard Festival run.

Funds from the race provide professional development for Buccaneers’ cross country coaches; Saturday transportation to invitationals; uniforms; tuition to camps; and need-based scholarships to runners for shoes, spikes and other running equipment.

Since the inception of the race, the Buccaneers’ cross country program has soared from 40 athletes to well over 200 athletes in grades 6-12.

“We have one of the biggest and most successful programs in the Grand Rapids area and this race with support of our community and GHAPS, helps the district with the costs of maintaining such a large program,” Tarr said.

Individuals or companies wishing to volunteer to help on race day or provide donations or sponsorship can contact Tarr at tarr@ghaps.org.

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