Grand Rapids Marathon
Grand Rapids, Michigan USA
Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grand Rapids Marathon Information

Since its first race was held in 2004, the Grand Rapids Marathon has grown at an amazing clip of 20 percent per year. What started as a small group of races with only several hundred runners has quickly morphed into a major event for the running-obsessed state of Michigan.

With so many marathons coming and going over the last ten years, it is natural to ask what the secret is to the success of the Grand Rapids Marathon. The answer is as simple as a lazy Sunday 5k; the Marathon races are designed by runners for runners.

Attention to detail, clear organization, a choice of races for all skill levels, and enough confidence not to take itself too seriously are just some of the things that the race weekend does well. Couple all of this with a real commitment to delivering a highly competitive but still highly personal experience to all of its runners, and it is easy to see why the race continues to grow.

The fun starts with the marquee event. The 26.2-mile marathon at the heart of the weekend is a fast, flat course certified by the USATF. In 2011, almost 20 percent of all runners qualified for the Boston Marathon while enjoying their running tour of downtown Grand Rapids and scenic Millennium Park.

With large thanks to primary sponsor Metro Health Sports Medicine, the race is full of all of the little touches that allow great courses to stand out. There are plenty of Portajohns, GU at miles 8 and 18.5, and aid stations every mile and a half or so. Not only do the aid stations have plenty of water and energy drinks, they are also staffed with qualified doctors, nurses, EMTs, and physical therapists.

As an added bonus, Metro Health offers a free biomechanical screening on the Saturday before the race. Open to all registered runners on a first come, first-serve basis, the screening covers everything from foot types and footwear to musculoskeletal discrepancies.

Like the rest of the weekend, the bio screening is held at the conveniently located David D. Hunting YMCA. Featuring a health expo, packet pickup, and starting and finish lines for all races, the YMCA also offers free showers once you are done. Better still, at least for any runner who has struggled to roll out of bed in the morning, there is a ton of parking around the location.

Still, the real stars of the weekend are the races, and there are a lot to from which to choose. In addition to the marathon, the Grand Rapids Marathon also features a 5K, 10K, a Kids Marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay, and several New Holland beer runs.

In short, the Grand Rapids Marathon has something for everyone. Whether you are an experienced runner looking to set a new P.R., or a speed-challenged newbie in need of an early start, the Grand Rapids Marathon will have you covered. In a crowded field of marathon choices, there is a reason that this one is racing to the head of the pack.