It’s race day! Amway River Bank Run returns for 45th year

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s how Grand Rapids celebrates spring: The Amway River Bank Run.

The 45th annual race is today. It was last held in October, rescheduled in deference to the pandemic, and was virtual only in 2020. This year, it returns to its rightful spot on the second Saturday of May.

Inside Amway River Bank Run

You can watch live race coverage on WOOD TV8 starting at 7 a.m. Due to restrictions imposed by USA Track & Field, is not permitted to stream the 25K. You can watch it on your TV on WOOD TV8.

Amway River Bank Run event start times.

The massive road race features wheelchair and handcycle races, a 5K, a 10K and the marquee 25K. The 25K also serves as the USA Track & Field’s road championship.

There are some big names lined up to compete, including three-time River Bank Run winner Aliphine Tuliamuk among the elite women and 2019 winner Parker Stinson in the men’s field.

The course has been revised this year because of construction and street changes in downtown Grand Rapids. Runners will start off headed downhill down Michigan Street and face an early climb in the Butterworth Hills. That will be followed by a long stretch along the Grand River on Indian Mounds Drive and then a straightaway on Market Avenue.

The 25K race route.

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The winner of the 25K will take home $10,000. Second place is $5,000 and third place $2,500.

The 25K also features a “race within a race” in which the women are given a head start based on average finish times. If the women maintain that lead and break the tape first, they win. If the men catch up and finish first, they win. Whoever finishes first gets an extra $2,500.

The women have won the “race within a race” for five consecutive years. This year, their head start has been shorted by 30 seconds to 10 minutes, 30 seconds.

River Bank Run organizers warn about heat

The weather is expected to be abnormally warm and muggy. Organizers advised runners to start hydrating days early. They should also be prepared to stay hydrated during the race and take breaks if they need to.

Some road closures will be in effect because of the races. Give yourself extra time if you have to head downtown and be prepared for detours.

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