Participants invited to drive-thru celebration Oct. 24 at Millennium Park
(GRAND RAPIDS, MI) - After careful consideration and consult with health professionals, including health partner Spectrum Health, Amway River Bank Run organizers have decided to transition the 2020 event to a virtual race. The safety of the runners, volunteers and supporters is at the center of this difficult decision. The social distancing required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of many events nationwide, so the Amway River Bank Run is no exception.
Race organizers are still planning a celebratory event for participants of all the races (5K, 10K and 25K), however. Drive-thru festivities will take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at Millennium Park in Walker.
“We fully acknowledge the inconvenience that our initial delay from May to October and now the cancellation of the in-person event has caused, but we have been working tirelessly to ensure that the Amway River Bank Run can happen in some way, so we felt the virtual format was best,” said Russ Hines, owner, River Bank Events and Media, and owner of the run. “COVID-19 has forced us to rethink how we celebrate our runners’ accomplishments. We feel that the Millennium Park event will honor the tradition of the Amway River Bank Run.”
All virtual race participants who upload their race times at Post Virtual Results are invited to participate in the celebration. Runners will receive a 2020 Amway River Bank Run participant shirt, finisher’s medal and other race swag. There will even be opportunities for participants to have their photo taken with a special Amway River Bank Run backdrop while remaining in their vehicle. Email firstname.lastname@example.org you name, address, t-shirt size and event, if you cannot make it on October 24 and your package will be mailed in November.
Amway River Bank Run race director David Madiol has been touched by the outpouring of support organizers have received from the community these past few months.
“Thank you to the West Michigan community for its ongoing support during this trying time,” said Madiol, who oversees all corporate social responsibility activities for Amway in addition to serving as race director. “Our partners at Spectrum Health and Fifth Third Bank have been so understanding of all the unfortunate pivots we’ve had to make this year, but they, along with so many other sponsors, elite athletes and vendors have all rallied around to make sure the spirit of the Amway River Bank Run continues forward in 2020.”
“If there is one thing we learned in the first 40 years, it’s that runners are dedicated to their sport and they show-up in sun, rain, sleet and snow,” said Scott Stenstrom, marketing and communications director at Fifth Third Bank. “I hope the spirit of this tradition will encourage them to complete their event virtually and join us at the drive-thru celebration.”
Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker shared that health and safety is a priority. “Spectrum Health is committed to the health and wellness of our communities. Spectrum Health and our orthopedic team encourage runners and walkers to safely participate in the virtual race this year, and we look forward to playing an integral part in future Amway River Bank Runs,” she said.
Individuals who registered for the Oct. 24 race will receive details on how to transfer to the virtual race or defer to the May 8, 2021, race.
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