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Learn While You Burn Calories in Downtown, Grand Rapids




Grand Rapids Running Tours opened on-line registration on Monday, February 17.  Now, owner and Chief Running Ambassador, Caroline Cook, can be found daily stretching in the lobby of the JW Marriott awating her runner registrants.

What started as a "seed of an idea" that Cook bounced off her husband and running friends last September, has blossomed into a full fledged business.  As an employee of local run specialty store, Gazelle Sports, an avid runner and a downtown resident, Cook envisioned a marriage between the wealth of downtown landmarks and art, and both the visiting and local running communities.  While doing research, Cook discovered that while a running tour compnay would be a first of its kind in Grand Rapids, there are running tour operators all over the world.

"Travelers who run are learning to search and book ahead of their visit so that they guarantee continuity in their personal running routine, PLUS learn more about a city, " says Cook.  She continues, "If you need to get in your miles, you can rely upon a safe and truly creative route with a trained guide when you reserve a tour with Grand Rapids Running Tours."

Runners may select from a schedule of Classic Tours such as "Lapping the Landmarks 5K", "Art Dart 5K", or "Steeple Chase 10K".  Seasonally, Cook is planning "Beer City USA", "Market to Market", "Young President Ford", "American Pie", "Park to Park", "Cemetery History", "Need for Speed", and "Bridge Fartlek".  And in the fall, runners can look for an Art Prize, Halloween and holiday selection.  And that is just the beginning.

Cook explains that there are infinite possibilities.

"I have so, so many ideas for routes to keep repeat cusomers energized and attract local runners who want to do something different and fun", describes Cook.

Registration is on-line at and participants gather inside at the JW Marriott.  Runs cost $20 for a 5K, $35 for a 10K and $5 for each additional mile.  Pre-registration is encouraged.  Runners receive a bottle of water at the conclusion of the run.

Not a runner, but the routes sound interesting and fun?  Not a problem!  All of the 5K routes can be walked.

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