drenergize long run saturday grand rapids running

Grand Rapids is for Runners

Grand Rapids has gotten some street cred lately over becoming a pretty active city. I never really thought about it before because I’ve only ever lived in West Michigan and in Buffalo, NY, which also had a pretty awesome running community. It’s true, though. We have tons of awesome races, groups, and more. Think Grand Rapids is for couch potatoes? Think again!

How is Grand Rapids for Runners? Let me count the ways!

Kickass Races

Uh, hello, like a million people show up every May for the River Bank Run. And like 5 million people spectate. That race is seriously huge. You can’t even cross the street for about an hour after the 5k starts. I’ve tried. My friends and I ended up running a full block of the 5k just to cross the street so that we could get to the starting line for the 25k. Pretty much the whole state ends up downtown on that day. And River Bank isn’t the only awesome race. Gazelle Girl has singlehandedly put women’s running on the map for West Michigan. A lot of us don’t realize how insanely cool that is. Add in the GR Marathon, Bridge Run, Striders Classic, a slew of 5ks, and things like adventure races, bike races, and so on—we’re getting our butts moving!

run races

Sporting Goods

Need some running gear? No need to sit at home in the dark like a loser like I do and buy everything off Amazon. Head out to your favorite store. The people at any Striders location or Gazelle Sports can get your little tootsies into the perfect shoes, and help you pick up any other accessory or apparel item you need. Add in events and things like Good Form Running, and you’re in for a running treat, my friends.

Cross Training

From free yoga downtown at Park Church, to more yoga studios than our hip neighborhoods have room for, from bike groups and beer drinkers who work out to triathlons, swim coaches, and rock climbing gyms, Grand Rapids has your tiny heinie covered.

ride a bike


There’s no doubt that we could use more bike lanes and more awareness of how to share the road, but I’ve biked worse. As a big fan of biking to cross train for running, I really appreciate how many bike shops are around here, as well as the overall bike culture. Plus, have you seen the new campaign about safety for drivers and cyclists, sharing the road and all that jazz? It’s a good thing, and I hope it makes bikeability even better.

beer is good

Beeeeeer, Glooooorious Beeeer

That’s right! Just about every run has either a beer tent or a ticket for a free beer when you get done, on top of running groups that meet at breweries and even races that require you to drink mid-run. Seriously. If you run for beer (or wine; it’s cool), Grand Rapids is for you.

What about your city? Do you have all the running coolness of Grand Rapids? Did I miss anything?