I began as a runner when I was in high school, 15 years old, trying to keep my weight down for school sports (or maybe cooking class). By the time I was 16 years old, I signed up for my first Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K (or at that time Old Kent River Bank Run). Way back then, my parents refused to sign the form as the parental permission because they thought I would get hurt, and it was a waste of money because I would never win the race. I forged my dad’s name so I could run the race. I am now 47 years old and I never told him or my mother I did that. Well, I never got hurt and I never won the race. Thereafter, I took a break from River Bank Runs until I was 22 or 23 years old, and this year (2013) was my 24th year in a row for running the River Bank Run 25K, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 1995 I ran my first marathon, The Columbus Marathon, and I swore I would never run another marathon as long as I lived. I trained like most first time marathoners, but did not know what to expect. I dressed improperly thinking that cotton was a friend of runners, absolutely not. On that Sunday morning it rained/snowed (ice crystals) blowing sideways I was soaked, cold, sore, and frozen. I finished in 4:45 minutes. Six months later I signed up for my second race. Fifteen years later I have 40 marathons under my belt, and had the fun of traveling to different cities around the country. Today, I tend to enjoy half marathons and have many of these fine races under my belt. One of my top 10 (half-full) marathons is the Grand Rapids Marathon simply because of the personal touches, and is not in-personal like some of the other races I have run. Great Job, Marathon committee!