Beginning this year, three area races — the Klever Innovations Kick-off to Summer Run, the Grand Haven High School Patriots Day Run, and the Tri-Cities Family YMCA Coast Guard Run, presented by North Ottawa Community Health System — have been grouped into a series. Those runners and walkers who compete in all three events will have their standings in each race figured in and awards will be handed out following the final race in the series — the Coast Guard Run on July 30.
The idea for the series came about through discussions among representatives from each race — Matt Jacobs, whose company sponsors the Kick-off to Summer Run; Greg Russick, the varsity girls cross country coach at Grand Haven High School; and Matt Marrow, a board member at the YMCA.
“They were talking about how we can bring more awareness and continue to promote healthy lifestyles, not just for runners but for walkers as well, to bring people together and give them one big series to participate in,” said Brooke Sheldon, who serves as the race director for both the Kick-Off to Summer and the Coast Guard runs.
Sheldon stressed that there is no obligation for anyone to run in more than one of the three races. The goal of the series, however, is to keep people active all summer long.
“You can sign up for all three races individually and we’ll keep track of who runs all the races,” Sheldon said. “Then we’ll have an awards ceremony following the third race.
“We’re just getting the word out and a lot of people are excited about it. A lot of people do two of the three races. We hope this way they’ll do the third race as well.
“We do want to stress that this is not just for runners. This is not a super competitive series. It’s for anyone who has a goal of getting in shape, getting healthy. You can walk them or run with friends.”