The first race I ever ran was the Fifth Third River Bank Run 5K. I remember being SO nervous and scared. 5K?! How on EARTH was I going to do that!? In order to get in shape and have the stamina to run 3.1 miles, I trained using a Couch to 5K program. After weeks of sweat (and maybe a few tears) I was ready for race day. The nerves I had that morning were OUT of CONTROL. I must have visited the porta-potties 10 times before lining up with my pace group. I wasn’t going to back out of this though because I had trained hard and I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only person there that had never run a race before.
As soon as the race started, the nerves faded away and adrenaline kicked in. Through the streets of Grand Rapids we went. Thousands of runners with one goal in mind: Finish. During the run, I distinctly remember the sound of thousands of feet hitting the pavement. What an incredible sound! I also remember how the sound of our feet changed as we went over one of the city’s historic bridges. Such a beautiful run! To this day I can still remember the feeling of pure joy I had after I rounded the last corner of the race. There before me, off in the distance, was the finish line. Hundreds of spectators lined the streets cheering me on. As I approached the finish, I heard my name over the loudspeaker: And here’s Sasha Wolff, from Grand Rapids, with a time of 27:05!
A Race of Firsts
Ever since that day, the Fifth Third River Bank Run has been near and dear to my heart. It’s a race of firsts for me. It’s served as my first long-distance race (the 25K), and my first 10K. And now, I can finally say the Fifth Third River Bank Run will serve as the first race where there will be a running team for Still I Run!
Struggle-busing it during my first 25K at the River Bank.
That’s right! We’ve teamed up with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health services to have a running team for the 40th Annual Fifth Third River Bank Run on Saturday, May 13, 2017. If you’re unfamiliar with this race, let me fill you in:
Takes place in Grand Rapids, Mich
Is the LARGEST 25K road race in the country
Has more than 19,000 runners
Has a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K, and 25K
Is the world’s only 25K hand cycling event
For the running nerds out there, the River Bank Run also serves as the USA Track and Field National 25K Championships. Elite athletes from around the country will be running this year including Christo Landry who currently holds the American Record in the 25K distance. Local boy (and US Olympian) Dathan Ritzenhein will be there too.
My first 10K in 2016 at the Fifth Third River Bank Run
Let’s Raise Money!
I’m so excited to be a part of the River Bank Run in this capacity and I hope you’ll be a part of it as well! When you sign-up to be a part of the team, you’ll be also be asked to raise $100 for the Pine Rest Patient Assitance Fund. The fund provides assistance to families that are unable to afford mental health care. This is the same fund Still I Run raises money for through the Etsy shop. Money should ever be a barrier to getting mental health care and I will continue to do what I can to raise money to help. For more of the nitty-gritty details on signing up for PR Pacing – Still I Run team, go here. And even if you aren’t a local Michigan resident, I urge you to think about running in the River Bank Run with us. There is a wonderful running community here that’s ready to welcome you! It is an incredible opportunity and Grand Rapids is an awesome place to visit!