Kent County Park office (1700 Butterworth SW)
Runners start the Groundhog Marathon course just south of the Kent County Park offices, where Butterworth Street Southwest and Interstate 196 meet. From there, runners head onto the Kent Trail for the first mile, and turn right onto the newer, paved Fred Meier Millenium Trail that parallels Butterworth Street. You’ll follow this all the way around to a stretch of crushed limestone trails that lead to the Grand River, where you’ll meet up with the Veterans Memorial Trail and turn left. After that, the course heads all the way back to the start, where you’ll repeat the loop you’ve just run two more times for the half marathon, and five more times for the full marathon.
We’ve all heard of Punxsutawney Phil, the little furry guy in Pennsylvania who comes out, sees his shadow, and declares six more weeks of winter. Then there’s Augustus T. Groundhog, better known as Grand Rapids Gus. He’s Phil’s much more interesting cousin. Unlike Phil, who it seems can only see shadows, Gus has much better eyesight and can look at a calendar on February 2 and know that spring doesn’t start for six weeks. Gus suggested that instead of lamenting over six more weeks of winter, we should EMBRACE the cold and snow and do something fun. And so, the Groundhog Day Marathon was born.
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