On your mark, get set, go!

Mark your calendars for these races and 5Ks along the lakeshore

By David Hoekman

Race into summer
Hypervolt massage gun

So, you want to start running? Maybe compete in a 5K? We talked with Josh Vork, manager of Gazelle Sports in Holland, to get some pointers. By the way, his favorite piece of running gear is not actually running gear but his Hypervolt massage gun. “I use it every day to loosen up tight muscles, warm muscles up before a run or a walk, or just to relieve tension,” Vork said.

Q. What’s your No. 1 tip for people who want to start running?

A. Get fitted for proper running shoes. Shoes will make or break your running experience, so you want to make sure you get something that will work specifically for your feet, not just something you like the looks of or that your best friend’s neighbor raves about.

Q. How do you find the perfect pair of running shoes?

How do you find the perfect pair of running shoes?

A. Well, you’ve got to come to Gazelle Sports, of course! We will assess your gait and overall movement needs through watching you walk and asking questions, then bring a few options that could work for your foot type. We’ll help you try them on and use your real-time feedback to help you select the perfect pair. 

Q. What tips do you have for someone preparing for a 5K?

A. Increase your mileage and pace slowly to let your body acclimate to the running — the No. 1 reason new runners get injured is because they’re doing too much, too quickly. With that in mind, you don’t need to run every day — three to four days per week is plenty. Also, don’t be afraid to take a walking break if you need it or use other activities like swimming or cycling to supplement your running.

Q. Tell me about Good Form Running clinics at Gazelle Sports.

A. As kids, we’re taught how to throw a baseball, shoot a basketball, kick a soccer ball, etc. But when it comes to running, we’re expected to just know how to do it. While most of us can figure out how to physically move our body in a running motion without any coaching, Good Form Running provides the tools and knowledge necessary to do it in a more safe and comfortable manner through teaching proper running mechanics. Ultimately, the goal is to make running easier for all who attend.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?

A. Unfortunately, for most of us growing up and playing team sports, running was used as a punishment, so we have a lot of residual negativity associated with it. It might take some time, but there are lots of people who have learned that running can actually be enjoyable, not merely a necessary evil. Our goal at Gazelle Sports is to help that enjoyment come as quickly as possible!


Race into summer

Mark your calendars for these races and 5Ks along the lakeshore

May 7 
Tulip Time Run: Kollen Park, Holland — 10K, 5K, kids run. Run through tulip-lined streets.

May 14
Girls on the Run 5K: Heritage Landing, Muskegon — This celebration 5K event celebrates all the girls in the program. 

May 21
Michigan Adventure Race: Muskegon State Park, Muskegon — 8 hours or 5 hours. Experience grand Lake Michigan scenery from trekking on high dunes to biking and paddling along the coast.

May 21
ForeShore Adventure Run: Pere Marquette Beach Park, Muskegon —5K obstacle course run. The run benefits Muskegon Rescue Mission and the homeless people it serves.

May 22
Armed Services Marathon: Grand Haven — 26.2M, 13.1M, 5K. All proceeds are donated to the Grand Haven chapter of Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the families of military men and women that have fallen or been disabled while on active duty in the U.S. armed services.

May 28
2022 Team Grand Haven Custom Molding Kick-Off to Summer Run: Grand Haven — 5K, 1M family fun run/walk. The routes feature challenging courses, varied terrain and Lake Michigan scenery. Proceeds benefit youth and family programs at Tri-Cities Family YMCA.

June 18
Town Crier Race: Saugatuck—  13.1M, 10K, 5K run & 5K Community Walk. Run along Lake Michigan’s beautiful Art Coast. Proceeds provide a majority of the funding for Saugatuck High School cross country and track teams.

June 18 
Ode to the Hoff Backyard, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Muskegon — 4M trail run, last man standing. This is a backyard-style race in which participants decide their distance. Enjoy the park’s trails on the shore of Lake Michigan. 

June 28
Mercy Health Seaway Run: Muskegon — A 3.1-mile adventure through historic downtown Zeeland. The course is flat, fast and beautiful.

July 23
Laker Loop Half Marathon, Spring Lake — Proceeds go to Spring Lake High School cross country and track programs.

July 30
Coast Guard City USA Run, Grand Haven — 10K, 5K, 1M family fun run/walk. Tri-Cities Family YMCA puts on the races to promote healthy lifestyles and to build community in the Tri-Cities area.

Aug. 20
Wings of Mercy West Runway 5K, Holland — Wings of Mercy provides transportation to distant medical facilities for patients who cannot afford to fly.

Sept. 24
Gentex Corporation Park2Park Half-Marathon & 5K Race, Holland — The half-marathon includes scenic views of Lake Macatawa, Holland State Park and Lakeshore Drive. The 5K is through Waukazoo Woods. Proceeds benefit Neighbors Plus, a local nonprofit organization.

Oct. 1 
The Vine Wine’d, 5K, 1M, Fennville — Run through vineyards, meadows and forested ecosystems at Fenn Valley Winery.