The Cedar Springs White Pine Trail staging area provided a resting and revitalization point for the 2016 Fred 200/100 Mile Running Relay participants on Saturday, August 6. The overnight relay included 36 “spurs” or legs each ranging from two to 9.5 miles in distance, spanning the entire Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. It began on Friday, August 5, at 6 a.m. in Comstock Park and continued up to Cadillac and back again. The 60 percent paved and 40 percent dirt trail served as the course for 51 teams participating this year.
Carolee Cole, Community Building Development Team (CBDT) volunteer board member and Lindsay Woodard, a member of the West Michigan Trails & Greenway Coalition and marathon runner, recently met during a volunteer CBDT cleanup project of Cedar Creek. The two ladies immediately began discussing how the Cedar Springs Community might support The Fred Meijer Relay runners as they passed through our Red Flannel town.
West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition Executive Director John Morrison was on hand to see for himself not only his organization’s runners but also the development of the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” CBDT board member John Ensley showed Morrison where the North Country Trail, White Pine Trail, and the Fishing Line all intersect in the city owned property located on the northwest section of Main and Maple Streets. Morrison explained how unique and valuable this type of crossover is for all outdoor and trail enthusiasts. An additional asset includes Cedar Creek, the second largest and one of the coldest trout habitats in Michigan, which runs along these trail areas and is nestled right in the heart of Cedar Springs. A CBDT proposed project includes a boardwalk and pathway running along Cedar Creek from Main Street near the new Library location out to 17 Mile Road.
“The CBDT is always looking for opportunities to showcase our community and extend a friendly welcome,” explained Cole. Fellow CBDT Members Mark Laws, John Ensley, Autumn Mattson, and David Ringler were quick to jump on board with Cole to pull together the people and provide a bit of cheer, shaded resting areas, drinks, and food for those participating in this year’s run.
Laws was quick to thank the many businesses that provided food, drink, ice, a tent, workers, and chairs. “Our local business owners generously supported the event,” shared Laws.
Community member and 13-mile relay participant Teri Marsman was quick to thank all those involved by saying, “This is a classy way to welcome folks to Cedar!” She went on to say, “My kids have been dropping change into Librarian Donna Clark’s ‘new library change jar’ for 16 years. Our family is so excited to see the library actually being built and know more good things are on the way for our community.”
CTA Athletic Director, Autumn Mattson asked CTA Cross Country Coach Miss Davies for help from her team distributing refreshments on Saturday as runners headed toward the final stretch of the relay.
“We were happy to help because it is the right thing to do,” said Casen Armstrong, a member of the CTA Cross Country Team.
Gail Zemmol, JFR team runner and captain, was quick to add, “Cedar was our best stop and we are very grateful.”
Ensley and Laws responded by promising an even better Cedar Springs welcome for next year’s event.