The Rapidian

River Bank Run Runner: Shannon Cunningham

A profile of 5/3 River Bank runner Shannon Cunningham
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5/3 River Bank Run 5k has new Heat Feature

The very popular 5k race at the 5/3 River Bank Run will feature two starts or heats this year. The men's heat will hit the 3.1 mile course starting at 7:00 a.m. and the women's heat hits the road at 7:30 a.m.

This new double start is to relieve congestion at the start and on the course. Runners are welcome to run in either heat, but at present less than 1/3 of runners are in the early heat and more than 2/3 in the later heat. For runners seeking a personal record, race directors recommend the earlier race. Results from both heats will be merged for overall results.

Heat choices can be changed at packet pick up on Friday.

Shannon Cunningham in 2010 5/3 River Bank Run 25k

Shannon Cunningham in 2010 5/3 River Bank Run 25k

The race of choice: 25k

Why she's running it: "I ask myself that question every year. I think the answer lies in the fact that once you run the River Bank Run (RBR), it's hard not to want to run it again. Between the training, the excitement and the finish, it is a huge adrenaline rush. This will be my third consecutive RBR. The best part of it is that it is such a community event. The support is great and the other runners who are racing are fun to chat with along the way. There is a lot of excitement, which provides an extra umph when needed. The beer tent is a spectacular touch as well!"

Her training program: " I really try to follow the program provided on the RBR website, however I'm not that disciplined! I typically run between five and eight miles three days during the week and round out the weekend with a 10-12 mile run. Naturally I have my hell no days, but for the most part I try to stick to the program."

What it feels like to run 15 miles: "It hurts. But it's a good hurt. On race day I always run much faster than I train so my legs are always exhausted. However, it really becomes (I hate to be cliche) a runner's high. Every year it feels like such an accomplishment. It is great to feel the end results after four months of training."

A runner since: "Once I finished my four years of playing soccer at Grand Valley State University, I realized my competitive edge was missing. I randomly signed up for a Grand Rapids Marathon team race with some friends in 2008. On race day I ended up running the half marathon. From there I gave the RBR 25k a whirl and I've stuck with it ever since."

Running tunes: "During races only! And it has to be ridiculous, over the top, high energy music. The stuff that would normally drive me nuts, but for a race if it is loud and has a quick beat, it'll do."

Pre-race rituals: "Getting to the starting line on time and praying that I don't have to use the restroom during the race!"

The next day: "Sore, sore, sore! You can't miss me, I'll be walking funny. There's also the feeling of okay, so now what? It is odd to go for a casual run and not be training."

When she's not running: Cunningham is the marketing coordinator at Dan Vos Construction and a citizen reporter for The Rapidian.




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