Grand Rapids, Michigan - Endurance Capital of the World?

Grand Rapids Gus
In This Issue
Upcoming Events

OCTOBER 20, 2013


Marathon Adventures Boot Camp Trial Session
Wednesday, May 29 6PM
John Ball Park

State Games of Michigan 5K
Friday, June 21 5:30PM
Fifth Third Ball Park

Striders Sunset Series
Friday, June 21 7PM 
Fenn Valley Winery

New Holland Beer Run #4
Tuesday, July 2  6:30PM
Buffalo Wild Wings, downtown GR

New Holland Beer Run #5
Tuesday, July 16 6:30PM
Big E's in Midland, MI

Mercy Health Seaway Run
Half Marathon, 15K, 5K
Saturday, June 22 CLICK

The Rx Run
12 Hour Run
Saturday, June 22 CLICK

Run for the Sun
Wednesday, July 17 Downtown Holland 

Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon
October 20, 2013
Registration opens December 15, 2012
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Training Opportunities

Grand Rapids Running Club Mentor Program
Train for the Fifth Third River Bank Run January thru May CLICK

Gazelle Sports Training
Pick your distance, Pick your race, something for everyone! CLICK

Borgess Run Camp
Train for a spring marathon or half marathon, or just knock off a few pounds!  Awesome program for our friends in the Kalamazoo area CLICK

Striders River Bank Run Training Group  CLICK

Marathon Adventure Boot Camp CLICK

June 20, 2013
Marathon News from
Grand Rapids
Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon
Groundhog Day Marathon

and the adventure continues....

Print It!
It's a marathon worth of effort. Maybe an ultra. But I just reviewed the final edited version, called Mascot Books, and left them a message. "Print it!"
In three or four weeks, I should have actual copies of the book in my hands. To say I'm excited by that is probably an understatement.
and the adventure continues....
That's the name of the book. It's the story of setting a world record. It's the story of the Grand Rapids Marathon. But most importantly, it's the story of how an ordinary guy can do some pretty amazing stuff. AND HOW YOU CAN TOO! 
While I was training for my first marathon in 1995, I discovered/decided that if you can run a marathon, you can do ANYTHING. Since then, I've been privileged to run marathons in a lot of really cool places. I've seen all the oceans, climbed a few mountains, made a ton of friends. Wild horses, penguins, cheetahs, whales, animals of all kinds have crossed my paths during a bunch of adventures. 
RUNNING CAN TAKE YOU TO AMAZING PLACES! You can enjoy adventures all over the globe, or even close by, as you explore the trails and streets of your own city.
My friend Bart Yasso puts it like this: Never limit where running can take you!
Check out some of the great destinations on, or get even crazier at and go explore the world!
Sign up for something cool and go do it.
Pre-sales on the book start next week. Autographed copies, of course. 
Summer Training Opportunities!
Gazelle Sports has some great training programs going on this summer with their Summer Safari program. Whether you're in Holland, Grand Rapids, or Kalamazoo, you can prep for your fall marathon with the experts at Gazelle. It's not too late to start! CLICK They'll also help you with your triathlon needs too--including renting wetsuits! 
Meijer State Games
Our sponsor, the West Michigan Sports Commission came up with a great event here in Grand Rapids a few years ago. Now it's an annual event! The Meijer State Games start this weekend. Part of the opening ceremonies is a great 5K at Fifth Third Ball Park this Friday. Check it out!

Midsummer Madness Relay
Alan Martens, who does the Frostbite Marathon Relay in January is doing a summer marathon relay this year on the Groundhog Marathon course. It will be the official kickoff for registration for the 2014 Groundhog Day Marathon. Check out the Facebook page for details. 

Shirts and Other Cool Stuff


YES, we have shirts left from the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon! Most of the men's shirts are gone, but we have lots of size Large left. Also, check out some of the other sweatshirts and other items. Pick up a couple more of your favorite training shirt on our website. CLICK

Marathon Adventures Bootcamp
Tuesday we did the first of our obstacle course sessions. It's a fun loop with nine different obstacles/tasks to perform along the way. When you get done, you'll know you did something. Then this morning, we were running up and down the hill on OBrien. Awesome workout! 

We still have room for more--come out Tuesday for a trial session. 

We're at John Ball Zoo most of the time, Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 a.m., so if you'd just like to try a session or two, come on out. 

Jim has a great summer planned for us as we train for fall marathons. Hope to see you some early morning soon.

Cost for the full summer (Tuesday and Thursday June thru September) is $250.   MORE INFO

Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon - 10 Years!

 The marathon has always been a Boston Qualifier. The first year, 2004, while doing the research, I found out that it would cost more than $1000 to get the course certified. Not knowing if we'd be able to afford that, I downloaded the measurement manual from the USATF and went about learning how to measure courses. 

It's an interesting process. Most measure courses using a calibrated bicycle with a Jones-Oerth counter on the front hub. 

It's a process:

1. You ride a calibration course four times and record the number of counts on your counter each of the four times. The calibration course is a 1000-foot course that's been measured with a steel tape. 

2. You do some calculation and figure out how many counts per mile based on your calibration.

3. You ride the course the first time, putting down marks where you think they should be.

4. You ride the course the second time, recording the count at each mark.  The two rides need to be within a very small variance.

5. You fix anything that needs to be fixed

6. You ride a calibration course to make sure your post-measurement and pre-measurement calibration on your bike hasn't changed 


Of course, that's after all the course design in the first place.


Year 2--2005. We changed the course, so I needed to get another ride of the course done one evening. The pre-calibration on my course across the street from the Y went well. But later that night, they had turned on the sprinklers. Which was fine, except for one broken sprinkler head, which put a big stream of water straight into the air and right back down along my bike's path. So I had to ride through the "waterfall" four times to get my calibration done. By the time I was don, I was soaking wet, but the course was done!


Being a Boston Qualifier means that the course is measured and certified by USATF standards. We're proud to be a venue where LOTS of runners qualify for Boston. 


New Holland Beer Runs
New Holland Logo
Beer Run #4 Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at Buffalo Wild Wings, downtown Grand Rapids  6:30PM

July 2 - Buffalo Wild Wings
July 16 - Big E's in Midland
July 23 - Kalamazoo Beer Exchange

The Lick Family Foundation and East Grand Rapids Boosters were our charity recipients for our last two beer runs. 

Every beer run has a target charity, and we make a contribution out of the entry fees. Your entry also includes your first New Holland beer and some appetizers. Door prizes, fun, hanging out with really cool people. It's all part of the Beer Run culture. We'll usually feature both a long (around 5 miles) and a short (3 miles or so) course with each run. (The super-hot, middle of summer stuff we may go a little shorter though.)

Your first beer run is $20, which includes a shirt.  After that they're only $10.

Shirts and Medals

In the next couple weeks, we'll be nailing down all our sponsors that will be on the shirts and placing an order. Long sleeve tech shirts in men and women sizing. Nice shirts! We'll have socks this year again too. And something else special for year 10 that we haven't figured out yet.


Also, we'll do a little revision to the medal design we got back from Maxwell Medals and we'll show you a picture of them soon. 


But we'd rather hang one around your neck. 


I'll see you at the finish line in October.

and the adventure continues....

Don Kern
Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon | | | PO Box 1041
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

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