Editorial: Steve’s Run a special race

Published 1:03 pm Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

There is just something about Steve’s Run that brings our communities together.
On Saturday in downtown Dowagiac, for the 35th time, the Original Road ‘n’ Trail Race will do it again.

The 10K run, 5K run and 5K walk will all begin at 9 a.m. with more than 1,000 runners and walkers hitting the pavement.

There is still time to get involved. Registration runs right up until race time. Last year another record-setting group of runners participated, including a staggering number of walk-ups.

The race, which celebrates the life of the late Steven Briegel, is one of the most unique road races in all of America. Many of his classmates plan to take part once again.
The Ganger clan will bring four generations to the race. This is truly a family affair.

A festive atmosphere adds to the enjoyment of the runners, who return year-after-year to the event.
What started out as the Road ‘n’ Trail Race, Steve’s Run has become a fixture for serious and recreational runners.

Racers who start out as youngsters return as adults and continue to compete in the annual event. Many of them bring their children, who continue the family tradition of running through and around the streets of Dowagiac.

Race Director Ron Gunn, along with a host of outstanding volunteer assistants, put on a first-class race.

From the music that dots the course to the aid stations along the way, no detail is overlooked.

And then there is the finish near Lions Park just off the downtown.
With music blasting and enough refreshments to go around twice, Gunn has created a carnival-like atmosphere.

Steve’s Run is a unique race and so are the awards. The traditional T-shirts always have an outstanding original design and this year is no different.

There are also stained glass awards, which are given to those who win their age divisions.

These too are an original design each year and are handmade.

Several years ago, the Fire Up signs were added to the race. These signs give encouragement to runners, support to loved ones and honor the memory of those who have lost their battle to cancer.

If you get a chance on Saturday to get up to Riverside Cemetery, check out the line of Fire Up signs. It is quite impressive.

If you are not a runner, that’s fine. Get out and support the runners as they pass through downtown Dowagiac, or get out on the course and cheer them on. You will most certainly put a smile on their faces.