13 April 2017
Marathon News from Grand Rapids
The Pre-History of the GR Marathon 

It was a late-winter night in 2001, when Shawn Sweet and I were at the Hair of the Frog, enjoying one of their great microbrews, and learning about the nature trail that was right off the end of the street by the Frog. We thought that maybe another Shawn & Don event might be appropriate. Over the next couple weeks we scouted the trails and the surrounding streets. We couldn't quite figure out a course that was 5K that got us back to the Frog, so instead, we created the Frogger 5.5K. We figured we would hold it on a Friday night so we didn't conflict with any of the Saturday races. 

Now, to find a good Friday to hold it. That's it! Good Friday! So, on Good Friday, Friday the 13th, 2001, the second Shawn & Don event happened. (You see what I was doing with that Good Friday thing, right?)

Sister Marathon Peace Initiative Update 

I was privileged to go to Bhutan as part of the Sister Marathon Peace Initiative. Yesterday I got an update of the program. 


Imagine bringing 108 people together with the common goal of running a marathon in a landlocked country in Asia. More than likely most people wouldn't be able to point to it on the globe. Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalaya’s eastern edge known for its monasteries, fortresses (dzongs), dramatic, beautiful landscapes, and now its International Marathon.

The dream for this trip began with the creation of the Sister Marathons Peace Initiative where 21 U.S. marathons joined together to bring peace and goodwill to the world through the sport of running. A large part of the group’s mission is to bring the world together by sharing the passion of running with the excitement of exploring other countries and cultures.

Plans are for another trip next year to another great location. Even another one to Bhutan. I'll keep you updated on the progress.


Brewing Mile 27 - Friday, April 21 (Postponed--watch for updates)
Hey--We're actually brewing two batches of Mile 27 Pilsner this year. Our first brew date is on Friday, April 21 at New Holland brewery on 8th Street in Holland. We have space for a few people to accompany us for brew day. Be there and help with the whole brewing process. We have a few spots for people we can take with us. Interested? Send me an email, subject line MILE 27 and tell me who you are and why you want to go. It will start at about 8am and last until just after lunch time. (POSTPONED--having some equipment issues on the little system in the pub on 8th Street--stay tuned for updates)

One in Five Marathon Relay 

One In Five Marathon Relay

This year, one in five adults will experience a mental illness—that’s over 40 million people in the U.S. alone—but with early intervention, we can reduce the devastating effects.

At the Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay, teams of five will complete a full marathon. The first four runners will complete a 5-mile loop, and the last will represent the one in five by running a more challenging 6.2-mile route.
Festivities also include a Community Walk, 6.2-Mile Individual Race, and 6.2-Mile Accessibility Race for athletes who use a wheelchair or handcycle.
Proceeds from the event will fund early intervention programming along with Hope Network services for those currently battling mental illness.

Packet Pick-Up & Late Registration:
Friday, May 26, 2017 from 3-7pm | MVP
Race Day: Saturday, May 27, 2017
7:50am: 6.2-Mile Accessibility Race
8:00am: Marathon Relay (each leg starts every 15 minutes)
9:00am: Community Walk and 6.2-Mile Individual Race

GET MORE INFORMATION!  Run on race day at Millennium Park. Or run the Virtual Race on race day by completing 10K and earning your medal wherever you are!

    West Michigan Endurance Challenge

Do the 25K at the Fifth Third River Bank Run 
80-mile ride in the MSU Gran Fondo


Half-Iron triathlon at the GR Tri 
Half- or Full-Iron distance at Michigan Titanium


The Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon 
The Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon (26.2)
Do This Stuff!
Mentor Group Run - Grand Rapids Running Club at John Ball Zoo Saturday morning at 8:00 am. CLICK for this week's newsletter

Community Run Sponsored by Fifth Third River Bank Run - Saturday, May 6 at 8:00 am. David D Hunting YMCA. 

Spring Chance BQ.2 Marathon Chicagoland
April 22, 2017 CLICK

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 5K & 10K April 23 CLICK

Kalamazoo Marathon and Run for the Health of It Half Marathon May 7, Kalamazoo. CLICK

Fifth Third River Bank Run -- May 13, 2017 CLICK

One in Five Marathon Relay -- May 27, 2017 CLICK

Grand Rapids Triathlon -- June 11, 2017 CLICK

MSU Gran Fondo -- June 24, 2017 CLICK

Michigan Titanium Triathlon -- August 20, 2017 CLICK

Run Thru The Rapids -- October 14, 2017 5K & 10K CLICK

Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon
Foster Swift Half Marathon
Pepsi Zero Sugar Marathon Relay
October 15, 2017 Registration is OPEN CLICK

Winter and Spring Training Opportunities  
Gazelle Sports CLICK
Priority Health Run Camp  CLICK
Grand Rapids Running Club Mentor Program CLICK
Striders CLICK

Running Life

Sunday in Brighton I finished my first marathon in England. But the coolest moment wasn't the finish. It was at mile 25, when for the first time I said "God Save the Queen" in the country where the tradition began. It was great--I felt like a part of history.

This weekend, many of my friends are making that annual Pilgrimage to Mecca--THE BOSTON MARATHON. 

In 1996, for the 100th Boston Marathon, they had a special lottery for an "Open Division" while I was still training for my first marathon. I figured, what the heck. At the second of three drawings, October 10, 1995, my name was drawn. It was five days before my first marathon. I hadn't run one marathon yet and I was going to Boston. 

I've been back a few times, sometimes to run, sometimes to support. But it's always magic--the history, the crowd, the friends. The Johnny Kelley sculpture at Heartbreak Hill. The massive numbers of people running the downhill out of Hopkinton. The thousands running on Boylston Street, seeing that big blue and yellow finish line structure. 

I love this sport from every angle--running, organizing, supporting. Millions of people getting healthier and happier along the way. Hanging out with healthy, upbeat people who aren't blowing smoke in your face. Being inspired to the point of tears almost every day. 

See you at the Finish Line!

and the adventure continues....

Don Kern