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Springs runs the river

Both beginning and experienced runners welcome

Jeff Ells (left), Maureen Baker (center), and Matt Kuzma (right) are two runners that enjoy training with others in the area to run the Fifth Third River Bank Run.

Would you like to train with someone to run in the annual Fifth Third River Band Run on May 8? Would you like the encouragement of other runners? Then you just might be interested in joining the group called “Springs runs the river.”

Organized by Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation, the group meets on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School, and consists of both beginning and more experienced runners.

Maureen Baker, a teacher at Tri County, had not run before joining the group last year. She trains for the 5K, and said that she ran three more races last year after the River Bank Run. “I even took first place in the Howard City Sneaker Run in September,” she said. “The Cedar Springs running group inspired me to see myself as a runner and I look forward to improving my times this year.”

Another participant from last year is Jeff Ells, another teacher from Tri County. Jeff ran the 10K last year and went from being a casual runner into a fan of the sport. “I shaved 5 minutes off my 10K time and completely changed my running gate,” explained Jeff. “I felt stronger and more healthy by the time of the River Bank run.”

But better health wasn’t the only thing Jeff liked about the group. “I also enjoyed the companionship and spirit of the other runners,” he said. “We supported each other and pushed each other. It was not only healthy but a lot of fun.”

Cedar Springs resident Matt Kuzma had been a runner before the program, but decided to join the group for the encouragement of others during the hard runs. “I had my best 25K time and I credit it to being in the running group,” said Matt. “It is always easier to get motivated when you have others supporting you and giving you encouragement.”

If you think you’d like to try out running with the group, registration forms can be found online at www.csaparksandrec.com.

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