The Rapidian

River Bank Run Runner: Laurie Craft

Local runner Laurie Craft is tuned up and ready for this weekend's 10k River Bank Run race.
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Get to the Right Start Spot, Right Away!

The staging area for the starting point of the Fifth Third River Bank races will spread from Monroe Avenue at Lyon Street, north to Michigan, west on Bridge and across the Grand River, and south into Ah-Nab-Awen Park on Saturday,  May 14.

Upon arrival downtown, participants should check the start corrals for event and pace per mile signage to ensure they are are in the optimal spot.  The 5k run (7 a.m.) men’s heat will line up first near the corner of Monroe Avenue and Lyon Street followed by the 5k run (7:30 a.m.) women’s heat.  The 10k (8 a.m. start) will line up behind the 5k Run women’s heat followed by the 25k handcycle and wheelchair athletes (8:10 a.m./8:12 starts).  They will be followed by the 25k runners (8:20 a.m. start), then the MyTeam Triumph 25k participants (8:40 a.m. start) and finally the 5k Community walkers (8:45 a.m. start).

Laurie Craft

Laurie Craft

The race of choice: 10k (6.2 miles). "I ran the 10k last year and enjoyed challenging myself. My goal is always to run a little faster than the last one. I like doing the River Bank Run because it's fun to be part of that big crowd and I don't have to go too far (translation--get up too early) to run it."

Why she's running it: "1) It is a great way to get in shape for summer. 2) I get bored running the same distance every day and following a training schedule gives me something to work toward. 3) I can't see myself spending more than an hour at a time training, so it is doubtful I will ever do the 25k or a 1/2 marathon."

A runner since: "I started running during my college summers. I worked at the Bonne Bell plant in Westlake, Ohio. The company president, Jess Bell was a big fitness buff and when he built the plant in 1976, he created a one mile walking/running trail through the woods around the plant perimeter. We were given an extra 20 minutes for lunch and were encouraged to get out and walk the course. I started running it, rather than strolling it with the line ladies and would do a mile or two a day. I went back to work sweaty, but lost my freshman 15 (pounds) one summer. I felt like I didn't have time to run when my kids were little, but I started again, running slightly longer distances about five years ago. I ran the Reeds Lake and River Bank Run 5k races before moving up to the 10k."

Running tunes:"I couldn't do it without my tunes! They keep me runnin, runnin and it really does help start me up. When I'm done with the race, I just know that tonight's gonna be a good night. I listen to just about anything with a rapid tempo and find that I'm frequently able to match my pace to the beat of the music. Sometimes I listen to podcasts of This American Life or The Moth Radio Hour when I'm training, but find that I get so involved with the story that I slow down or stop so I can really focus--not helpful! If anyone can hook me up with some new tunes, I'd love it! (The italicized excerpts above were from Black-Eyed Peas, Rolling Stones, Black-Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga respectively.) I also have JET, R.E.M., the Veronicas and U2 on my playlist. Genius on iTunes hasn't quite figured me out."

Pre-race ritual: "A good night's sleep and a small piece of toast with peanut butter before the race. Pretty boring."

When she's not running: Craft is a program director at Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

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