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‘Exercise is so important’


Thousands of eager runners gathered on Ottawa Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday morning for the 45th annual Amway River Bank Run.

Darryl Elmouchi, MD, MBA, President, BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan, was among runners—he chose the 5K.

“It’s a beautiful day and we’re so happy to be here,” Dr. Elmouchi said. “This is all about having fun, being healthy and enjoying ourselves.”

He stressed the importance of keeping healthy, as Spectrum Health staff were at the ready to offer medical support to those who might need it.

“As you’re starting it, good luck,” he said. “And as you finish it, congratulations.”

Spectrum Health has been the official health partner and medical provider for the run since 2018.

Nearly 100 providers from Spectrum Health orthopedics were on hand to help any runners who needed assistance. Another 100 volunteers staffed hydration stations and helped in other ways.

The 5K runners started first around sunrise, with the temperature quickly warming into the 70s—something River Bank runners aren’t used to. Along with the 5K, the River Bank Run features a 10K and 25K, as well as a 5K walk and 25K races for hand cyclists and wheelchair racers.

Stacy and Chris Emmert brought their two boys, Cullen and Lawson, to run as a family.

Stacy ran the 10K and her husband and boys ran the 5K.

“It’s a family tradition,” Stacy said. “Chris and I started it and we continued to do it after we had the kids.”

At just 7 years old, this will be Lawson’s fourth River Bank Run.

“Running is a really great sport, a long-term sport that my boys can do as they get older,” Stacy said. “It’s a great way to give them an outdoor activity to do. If they have too much energy, I tell them to go run a mile and come back home and see where you’re at.”

Encouraging kids to engage in physical activity and maintain a healthy weight can have a lifelong impact, said Stacy, a pediatric orthopedic physician assistant at Spectrum Health.

“Exercise is so important for kids,” she said.

Results from this year’s race can be found at amwayriverbankrun.com.

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