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Race : Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon  
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Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon
Grand Rapids, Mich., MI
Runners: 5,000
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* Ratings based on 59 responses.

Comments from runners.


Last marathon was Chicago in 2007. This was SO much less crowded and enjoyable. Gave you time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Great course, great logistics, great support, great food. Can't say enough good about the way you operate this event.

- T.L. from Berwyn, IL
Race Year: 2014 | Added: November 13, 2014


Still don't have 1st place award. Just don't see how you not have them . You have a party invite people but no food. Come on you got to have that done first. At 70 I work hard to run. My friends even can believe you didn't have them that day. They said to pick it up I live 3 hours each way. Can I be sure to have it mailed? Thank you I like your marathon just that was not good.

- W.M. from Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Race Year: 2014 | Added: October 30, 2014


this was my first "big" race, I did the half. I have ran 5 and 10 K races in small towns but this one had me nervous. I don't know what I was worried about. the course was great, I never questioned what I was doing, the volunteers were great, the other runners giving thumbs up to eachother....it was awesome! I cant wait for next year when I tackle the full!!!!!! a big thanks to all of you who made this race such a great success.

- J.N. from Bellevue, MI
Race Year: 2014 | Added: October 28, 2014


Good race. Close to home.

- .J..S. from Grand Rapids, MI
Race Year: 2014 | Added: October 27, 2014


This was my first marathon. I love it. I especially love Don Kern's e-mails. Hope to be be back again!

- J..S. from South Bend, IN
Race Year: 2014 | Added: October 25, 2014


I ran the the half-marathon, and my only complaint would be that I turned around too early. As I was approaching the turn around area, I turned at the first sign pointing the HMers left. Checking my watch later, I realized I had the course short. Maybe I was just being unobservant, but I wish that the area was better marked, with either one large sign, or, if you have earlier signs, say how long until the turn. Or using cones to clearly mark the turn would be helpful as well (maybe you did this and I just never got there). Basically, having the turnaround area better marked, with cones, volunteers, or better signage would make the area less confusing.

- J.S. from Grand Rapids, MI
Race Year: 2014 | Added: October 24, 2014


This was my first marathon. I have never been an athletic person, but figured I can walk ... Then run some ... All the way to running a Marathon! Thank you for a great first Marathon! To improve ... Need slower pace groups! There was not one slow enough for me, and it would have been a better race experience for me if there had been.

- S.S. from Haslett, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 26, 2013


The off ramp from 131 was backed up and there was no road direction people to tell us that going left (direction?) the road was closed. So after sitting on the off ramp for about 10 minutes, then in bumper to bumper traffic to turn left (another 10 minutes) we were told the road was closed at the "Y". It would have been better to have police (or ?) direction traffic at the end of the offramp and tell everyone to turn right there. Everything else = EXCELLENT. Love doing this race - love the warmth - handshake at the finish (even though I was one of the last ones on the 1/2 marathon!!! Love the Culvers - really look forward to that! And, all the treats - excellent job GR again!

- S.K. from Vicksburg, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 26, 2013


This was my first marathon and I had a fabulous experience!! The volunteers were incredible, upbeat, and just what I needed to keep going. I will definitely be doing this again next year!! Thank you so much for making my first marathon an experience me and my family who attended, will never forget!

- J.M. from Wyoming,
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 26, 2013


Needed more porta potties at the Y. Didn't notice any during the race but I wasn't looking for one either. Course was beautiful. Very fan friendly to get around and see runners often.

- J.B. from Crown Point, IN
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 26, 2013


Best race I've ran so far!

- J.A. from Vicksburg, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This is the second time I have run Grand Rapids- it is by far my favorite marathon!

- M.C. from Mianisburg, Ohio
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Great race! I loved the pace groups and the post race snacks. Best post-race snacks I have ever had!!!! I really loved that the race started and ended at the YMCA because it was nice to warm up after the race while I waited for my family to finish.

- N.L. from Waterford, Michigan
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


For teams there were some issues. 1) our bus got stuck and there was confusion about which drop the bus driver was taking us to. 2) I don't understand that individual team members weren't allowed in the finish corral until the last runner finished. Our first runned ran back to back segments and could not have access to a blanket or water for two more hours! There should be some prevision for atleast water at the finish for relay segment 1-4 particpants.

- M.W. from Big Rapids, Mi
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The race was very organized. Race director Don Kern was wonderful with emails leading up the race. Packet pickup was simple. Pace groups were GREAT! Super motivational and up beat. The course was very scenic and flat. Just enough people running to have someone around to talk to but not so crowded that you got stuck. Lots of snacks and gu on course with energetic volunteers to cheer runners on. Would do it again in a heartbeat!

- J.R. from Bay City, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Really nice beer garden. I know beer gardens and this was awesome. It helps that New Holland brews some of the best beer IN THE NATION - but the area itself was great. Perhaps a bit small - but really really good.

- R.E. from Grand Rapids, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Don Kern handing out hugs at the finish was awesome! Being able to start early was a plus for me, I wound up finishing within minutes of my husband who started at the official time.

- V.T. from Tinley Park, IL
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was my second half marathon. I am not a runner, I'm a swimmer at heart. However running in a race as well organized and fun as this race was finds me wanting to run more. From the cheering crowds to the awesome pre packet pick up expo it was a great experience. It also happened to be my 6th wedding anniversary, and I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate! Thank you Metro Health GR marathon! I will be back next year! Oh and I bought Don's book...can't wait to read it!

- D.P. from Ada, mi
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was my fourth time on the course and I'm continually impressed by the work, and tremendous efforts, of the staff and volunteers. Terrific race.

- R.B. from Grand Rapids, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


My first marathon! Couldn't or wouldn't have done it any other place then GR! Starting with the Facebook page with words of encouragement before race day, to the Expo on Saturday, then the best aid stations I have ever seen, to the post race refreshments. You guys ROCKED IT!!! Thanks so much!

- J..H. from Coopersville,
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


my first half marathon and I ran it with my mom, great coarse, awesome volenteers, and it was such a blast! excited for next years! :)

- S.S. from Rockford, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Everyone was wonderful!! This was my firsts year at the Grand Rapids Marathon and I ran with MyTeam Triumph. It was an amazing experience and everyone was very welcoming of us :) I'll be back next year hoping to tackle the full marathon!!! Thanks for the great memories!!!!

- J.R. from Holland, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This race is so well run and organized it makes others look bad. I can't say enough for the organization and general care for the participants. Love it!

- K.D. from Haslett, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I only ran the half-marathon this year, but this was the first time I had participated in Grand Rapids. The race organization, both pre and post race, was excellent. My wife and I look forward to making this an annual event.

- M.A. from East Lansing, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


HIGHLY RECOMMEND IN EVERY WAY. EVERY SINGLE WAY.

- S.C. from RIVERVIEW,
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


A well managed race. Great course. I ran a PR.

- J.S. from Berwyn, IL
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Volunteers and staff were fantastic! Very well organized. Course was beautiful.

- S.M. from Mishawaka, in
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I thought everything about this race was very well organized and quality. The aid stations were top notch (I especially liked how flags indicated where the gatorade vs water was), the parking was plentiful and super stress-free, and the shirts were cool. I would have liked to see more of the course within the actual downtown, however, I understand that this was probably difficult logistically.

- C.L. from Kalamazoo, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was my first Marathon and it ended up being a Boston qualifier! I can't wait to do it again next year, it was beautiful and fun!

- H.U. from Ludington, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Very happy with the race. It was a bit crowded in the beginning. This eased later.

- S.S. from Quincy, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The crowd was great! Large and very enthusiastic! Great course and lots of fun!

- E.T. from Grand Rapids, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I consider myself a pretty "new" runner even though I've been at it for a year now. GR Marathon was my first half-marathon and now my third; the one in between was very disappointing - not nearly as well organized nor was I feeling "the love". I improved my time from last year by 25:00 - so needless to say I was thrilled! Almost a week after the race and I'm still walking on air. I can't quit thinking about how much I've come to love running and how proud I am of myself! I know I owe a lot of it to myself, but some of it needs to go to the GR Marathon Group.

- D.W. from Howard City, Michigan
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I did my training on quiet country roads and park trails so I loved the out and back threw the woods but I did hear some city runners say that part was a little difficult for them.

- M.M. from Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I did this race in a handcycle and it was one of the most disappointing courses I have ever raced in. It was very confusing to find the arrows made with chalk telling you which way to turn. I got lost several times because I couldn't see these arrows while trying to keep a good pace on my handcycle. I also had to go through dirt and grass to get back on the course. The other major disappointment was the crowd. Usually on a marathon course, the spectators are spread out through the whole course, but this one had very few people, especially at difficult portions of the race where there are hills. Lastly, my family observed spectators off the sidewalk and on the course taking up most of the road, making it hard for runners and especially handcyclists, like me and my team, to get to the finish line.

- T.L. from Lake Odessa, Michigan
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The GR marathon was my first ever marathon. I had ran a half marathon and a 25k, but this was my first full blown, 26.2 mile run. I could not imagine going anywhere else! Everyone was positive, always cheering for you, smiling, and no one wanted to see anyone fail. Overall, the GR marathon was a great experience and I can't wait to run again!

- C.Z. from Holland, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


It would be great if one of your sponsors would provide a plastic bag for all the post-race snacks. It was a great spread, but with only 2 hands there's not much you can carry.

- V.D. from Lindenhurst, IL
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Wonderful race! Post-race food was better then I've ever experienced. Race director congrats at the end was a nice touch.

- E.O. from Toledo, OH
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This is the most fun race my wife and I run every year. we always travel to race in different marathons and half marathons around the country, but every year we always sign up for this one. we are never disappointed, Don and his crew are the most fun and professional people putting on the races !!! We always have a great time and the after race food and drinks are better than any race we've ever run. Medals are huge and the shirts are always the best. and the socks are great too.

- S.M. from Rockford, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The most frustrating part of this race for me is regarding the aid stations. I experienced a few different issues that made it a challenge for me to get the fuel I needed at the right time without having to stop. The first problem was when there were some very nice kids handing out gummy bears. That is a great thing, HOWEVER, when there is something OTHER than fluid in a cup there should be adequate signage or someone saying what is in that cup. I totally missed an aid station because I took a cup from someone handing them out and when I looked, it was gummy bears not a drink but I had already passed all of the available cups readily available (in an outstretched hand). The second problem I had was when I was leaving Butterworth park, the aid station was way too congested! There were slow walkers everywhere and they were like at least two people wide. The were in the way. It was so frustrating trying to get to a person with a cup!!!!! They were just standing there taking up the space and I don't stop or walk I run with my cup so it was very tough! My third problem was after we cross the bridge the second time, on the homestretch...it's great there are so many supporters there but my problem was when I took a cup but had NOWHERE to throw it!!!!! There were people everywhere and I no where to put it. I was tired and frustrated. Other than the three issues with those aid stations everything else was great! Thank you for another great marathon (my fourth GRM).

- V.P. from Holland, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I ran the half marathon, and I was frustrated that the pacers did not hold signs with specific half-marathon times on them (only marathon times). It'd be nice if there were minute/mile paces or finish time paces for the 1/2 marathon and/or at least one clock along the way (maybe at the 7 mile point where we got our splits?) I did not have my own watch and had difficulty knowing what pace I was going. Other than that... great race...beautiful course, great after-race party, great shirts....really enjoyed it!

- M.B. from Grand Rapids, Michigan
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was my first marathon and I loved it the course was beautiful and plenty of water and nutrition on the course and the spectators were great. Will be running this again for sure.

- R.L. from Hudsonville, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was my 8th marathon & this race was great! Scenic course, very organized, nice expo & plenty of water stops, porta potties, etc. The post race snacks were awesome! I drove 6 hours & the people from Grand Rapids were very welcoming. It was obvious that they take great pride in their marathon. To the race director, staff & volunteers - keep up the fantastic work!

- D.B. from Erie, PA
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Grand Rapids was my first full marathon, and I'm hooked! The race was VERY well organized, everyone who volunteered was extremely friendly and encouraging, and medals/shirts/race gear was worth the work. Thank you, thank you for a positive first marathon!

- B.Z. from Lansing, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Possibly one of the best marathons - I have run i have done 12 others. I absolutely loved it. Not so small that I feel alone, not so big I can not move. The only thing I would have had is more port 'o' potties. The lines were deep at the start.

- P.H. from McHenry, IL
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Best volunteers ever. It's like they were hired professions and trained for months. I've never seen volunteers like this.

- J.M. from Rockford, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Don Kern knows how to direct a race like this because he is a runner himself. And he has a team of runners helping in the management of this event. I've done several marathons but the Grand Rapids Marathon is the one I come back to every year. There is a unique energy produced by the people who come every year. They create such a positive vibe. This is more than a race; it's an experience.

- J.S. from Madison, Wisconsin
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Loved it

- M.D. from Freeport, mi
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Incredible RACE!!! I love the Grand Rapids Marathon! It is my favorite. PR this year by 13 minutes and finished 2nd in my division. A beautiful course run by the BEST race director!

- H.S. from Rochester, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was an excellent race, perfect size, great facilities...great refreshments, just an overall excellent experience. LOVED IT!!!

- S.O. from Battle Creek, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The volunteers were awesome, especially those at aid stations. Would have loved more spectators but part of the route is remote so I understand why the crowds were thin at times. The beautiful scenery helped make up for it!

- A.H. from Ann Arbor, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The crowd support and aid stations are amazing at this race. Definitely one of the more exciting races with this type of encouragement and participation!

- J.S. from Ada, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Excellent race with excellent people!

- D.V. from Kalamazoo, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I love this race! This was my 5th year in a row and it's the one I never miss. The course is almost entirely flat, beautiful, and well-organized. Highly recommended for a first half. In late October, the weather always cooperates, and there is plenty of parking at the staging area.

- L.O. from Traverse City, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


My first 1/2 marathon. Was a beautiful run in a beautiful city. Wish I lived there. Everything seemed to flow very well and the humor of the race director just added to the fun!

- N.T. from Redford, Mi
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


Perfect time of year, the course is beautiful in the fall. First time running the GR full, I would recommend it for those who don't want a loud crowd along the way. The beauty of the course was enhanced by the solitude and quiet.

- D.O. from Grandville, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


This was my 3rd year in a row and I enjoyed every moment from start to finish! I plan to run in many more Grand Rapids half marathons. I Hope to one day run the whole 26.2!!

- J.H.. from Lowell, Michigan
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


It was my first 1/2 so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I loved it and can't wait to do it again next year!!!

- T.T. from Grand Ledge, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


The course was scenic and relatively flat.

- H.N. from Union City, Michigan
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


I have only run 2 marathons, and both of them were the Grand Rapids Marathon. I love this race! It is extremely well organized, a great course, well supported, and the pace groups are awesome. I qualified for Boston last year in this race and ran it again this year because it was such a great experience. I am so thankful that I have a local marathon that is so awesome. No flying, no hotels, just right here in west Michigan :)

- E.B. from Holland, MI
Race Year: 2013 | Added: October 25, 2013


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