What’s Next?

We never rest, it seems. The week has been full of dealing with the after-effects. Washing coolers and tubs, storing signs, repacking MyWay box with stuff we won’t have to use for another year. But planning the next thing. Cool stuff on the horizon. Groundhog Day, the Frostbite Marathon Relay, and a few adventures of […]

The Afterglow

The end of a long journey. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The FINISH LINE. Sunday, I stood at the finish line and greeted many runners, from the speediest guy early in the morning to the last person to finish, somewhere after 3pm. I laughed with people who laughed. I cried with some who cried. […]

Two days to go …

Last night was our final pre-race staff meeting. We started early. We loaded all the shirts, packet pickup stuff, signs, medals, and about half of my household furniture into a UHaul truck and a MyWay Storage box and headed for the YMCA. This morning we’ll be covering up the gym floor and getting ready for […]

It’s Mile 25!

Sunday morning.  Or afternoon.  For YOU! It’s Mile 25. God Save The Queen! You’re almost there, just about to jump off the bike path onto Wealthy Street. The 25-mile mark. Take out the headphones. It’s time to engage ALL your senses and fully feel what’s going on. Your legs are sore. Your body is tired.  Your stomach has had ENOUGH Gatorade and water. The people […]

Some next-to-last-minute thoughts

There’s poison ivy all over the course out on Indian Mounds and a lot of Millennium Park. Just be aware of that when you’re heading off into the woods for that emergency break. Your toenails will grow back. But it’s Wednesday, so this would be a good day to trim them down and keep the […]

Aren’t you afraid?

Lots of feelings creep in during the lead up to the marathon. Let me share this story with you. My friend Christa was going to run her first marathon a few years ago.  I had referred her to the same hotel we were staying in, and when we went to her room, her fiancé answered the door.  […]


Sometimes doubt will creep in–you’re getting to the final days of training. Was it enough? Are you really going to be ready a week from Sunday? Relax. It’s natural to have those thoughts. There are a couple things you should know: 1. Your training has probably been adequate! 2. There’s more strength inside you than […]


If you’re watching baseball, (here in Michigan we’re genetically Tigers fans) you’ve watched Verlander routinely throw a baseball over 100 miles/hour.  We see others in our generation like Phelps, winning more Olympic medals than anyone else. Bolt running faster than any man in history.  They’re supermen. Then there’s the rest of us.  Ordinary people.  Wearing […]

Brainstorming session – 2003

I sat outside in the beer garden at The Hideout, and looked over at some of the old concrete topped tables that were made by Larry Deliefde back when The Hideout was The Hair of the Frog Brewery. On a cool fall day back in 2003, my co-instigator Shawn Sweet and I had called a […]

Nine Days!

Let me start out by doing something that no one has ever done before. I’m going to quote the Bible out of context. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?” Well, in the gospel according to Marathon Don, it doesn’t work that way. Yes, there will […]

Ten Days!

It’s time for the countdown to begin. Your marathon staff ran the course on Sunday. The good news is there were no surprises. The course is ready, and it’s still 26.2 miles long! We run the course every year. Not only to earn our own medals, but to make sure everything was in place when all […]

Two Weeks!

Just a little over two weeks. People are starting to taper. Whatever that is. Sunday morning – the staff run. The “Dress Rehearsal” for the marathon. We’re pretty busy on race day, so two weeks before the marathon, members of the staff go out and run the course so we can earn our medals too. […]

What if?

Saturday night, I was hanging out with a bunch of really old people. I was at my 40-year high school class reunion. (Class of 1974, Chippewa Hills.) Then I got in the car, drove to St. Charles, Illinois, for the fifth annual Fox Valley Marathon. I snoozed a couple times on the way there for […]

One month to go!

THIRTY DAYS! The countdown. Too early to taper. This stuff is getting serious! The Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon preparation is in full swing. Yesterday we got the order for Clif Shots in. Clif is our official energy gel sponsor this year. I ordered another 2,000 Heat Sheets as well. We get them on rolls […]

It’s not just 26 miles

Before too long, many of you will once again complete the magical distance, 26.2 miles, that has come to be called a MARATHON. The distance is arbitrary really. Modern-era marathons started at more like 25 miles until the 1908 Olympics in London moved the starting line at the order of the queen. It’s been 26 […]

Aren’t you afraid?

In 2011 I signed up for my first iron-distance triathlon, the Rev3 at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Not long after that, a friend came up beside me during a run and asked me, “Aren’t you afraid?” “Huh?” “What if you fail? What if you can’t do it?” I hadn’t considered that. Wow.  I hadn’t […]

There’s more

  There’s more inside you than you realize. It’s something that I like to remind people over and over. If you’ve been reading my stuff for a few years, you know that!   Recently, I’ve been a lot more aware of that in my own training. In a bit of a rut after a couple […]


An interesting number. If you’re excited about geography or maps or something like that, you know that 24,902 is the number of miles around the world at the equator. But for me, it’s a goal. And this Sunday, my mileage logs will actually reach the number 24,902. I have run enough miles in my running […]

You’re Stronger Than You Think

A lot of the last three years have been spent trying to get my knees back into good shape for running. I’ve still been doing marathons regularly, but not at the frequency of the past. The last two or three months have been a real confidence booster, however. Weekend before last was a real test […]

Adventure – the reason we run

Fresh air, cool trails, and marathons all over the world to enjoy. Places to explore that you would never have known about if you didn’t run. I found a “jungle ruins” type of stairway up from the end of Sixth Street up the hill to Lookout Park. At the end of the bike bridge across […]

Singing with the voice you have

I posted on Facebook the other day something that popped into my head while driving down the road: We all have to sing with the voice that we have. The sad part is that people don’t let their music come out. It occurred to me that this also applies to the running world. Everybody has a different “voice […]


A little bit ago, I had an interview with Croft Edwards about LEADERSHIP. Croft blogs about leadership, and was interested in what happens at our marathon. Seems it’s pretty easy to look at our staff and recognize that LEADERSHIP IS HAPPENING! There will be some pretty good blog entries coming up, but in the course […]

I don’t believe in the wall

On Sunday, I ran the Med City Marathon in Rochester, Minnesota, a really cool milestone for me –my 250th marathon.   On the back of a girl’s shirt I saw something that got me thinking:                     I DON’T BELIEVE IN THE WALL   I thought about it a lot. […]

Marathon News from Grand Rapids 7/12/2013

Read about course certifications, a little West Michigan marathon history and summer training tips from race director Don Kern by clicking here.

Marathon News from Grand Rapids 6/26/2013

Read about summer running tips, relive an old Grand Rapids Marathon story and learn how you can preorder “and the adventure continues ….” from race director Don Kern by clicking here. 

Marathon News from Grand Rapids 6/20/2013

Click here for our 6/20 newsletter.

Marathon News from Grand Rapids 6/7/2013

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