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Road Warriors

Road Warrior Team

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2017 is the 12th Anniversary of the Fifth Third River Bank Run Road Warrior program! Each year, the public (within a 45 mile radius of Grand Rapids) is invited to apply to become event ambassadors while training with coaches for the 25K, 10K and 5K events on the second Saturday of May.  The Road Warriors are selected by a panel after personal interviews. All 13 Road Warriors represent the Fifth Third River Bank Run at community events and blog on the social media of choice about the ups and downs of training for a long distance road race in Michigan.

A very special welcome to the 2017 Fifth Third River Bank Run Road Warriors — Annette, Bill, Brian, Chris, Jamie, Robert, Roxanne, Sarah G, Sarah K, Shannon, Sol, Carrie and Rory Beth — coached by Joann Karpowicz and Amy Polega!

Read their stories.  Get to know them and find out how you can fundraise for one of  our charity partners.

Coaches Joann and Amy

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Our running adventure… how it all began… (read more)

Annette Yeiter

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My name is Annette and I am honored to be a Road Warrior for this year’s 25K. I have not always been a runner, and to say I am now still sounds strange to me. My running began in high school as a member of the track and cross country team. I was not fast, but I did manage to place every once in a while. I loved being part of a team and I liked the feeling of accomplishment from the hard work and dedication. (read more)

Bill Hinton

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I have been athlete most of my life, swim team, soccer and basketball. In high school and college basketball consumed a very large part of my time. I played 4 years of College Varsity Basketball at Colby College in Maine. I am 6’6” and a big guy so I am not the most nimble on my feet. (read more)

Brian Switzer

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Just a Road Warrior sharing the joys of running… that’s me!  Running has brought so much joy to my life and has helped me deal with the everyday struggles itself. Running is my friend. Running has always been there for me in good times and in bad. In the bad times, running has proven to be my best friend and gotten me through it all. I’m a single dad and sometimes life can be overwhelming. Running is also my own personal therapist, it calms me. While out running I can laugh, cry and even sing out loud… my constant companion. Running never judges me.(read more)

Carrie Seeley

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Hi my name is Carrie Seeley. I am so excited for the opportunity to be Road Warrior. My goal is to inspire others to achieve a goal that they thought they never could. My story started 2 years ago on Mother’s Day. I had a photo taken with my children. Well, you know how that goes. (read more)

Chris Balczak

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I run because I can! As simple as that sounds it takes on a special meaning for me. I feel privileged and excited to represent the Fifth Third River Bank Run as a Road Warrior. I’m ready to join my fellow warriors and embark upon this journey with the help of our coaches. I hope to raise awareness while also joining the fight against cancer with my charity partner, Stand Up To Cancer. (read more)

Jamie Nye

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My Name is Jamie Nye and I’m the kid who couldn’t run a mile in gym class. Even after spending three days of week “training” in class, I couldn’t make it pass the first quarter mile without stopping. Heck, my idea of a sport was the marching band. Flash forward 10 years and an eighty pound weight lost. I’m looking for something to speed up my morning walks. I start “running” to the next stop light to hurry things along. Eventually, I string those stop lights together and voila, I’m a two mile runner. (read more)

Robert Blaszak

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Today, I woke up and ran 8 miles. I ran 8 miles yesterday too. Both times in the snow, and uphill both ways.

Now, I’m not a cantankerous old runner. I never came close to being a runner in high school or college. For starters, I weighed about 100 pounds more than I do now. I’d always told myself “I can lose this weight if I try hard enough,” but I never had. One day, I just had enough and decided to do it. (read more)

Rory Beth Novosad

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I started running years ago! When I started it was for the “me time” and in an effort to get healthier. I am a wife, a mother and I work part time. Being a wife and mom are my number one priorities, and by far my favorite jobs! For them, I want to be the best and healthiest person I can be. (read more)

Roxanne Kiesling

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My name is Roxanne Kiesling and I am a Fifth Third River Bank Run Road Warrior for 2017. The opportunity to grow as runner and to be encouraged and motivated by others who are on the same exciting journey to complete a 5K, 10K or 25K is why I am looking forward to being a Road Warrior. This will be my first 25K and the first time I’ve participated in the Fifth Third River Bank Run. (read more)

Sarah Gust

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Last spring, following a Hills & Hops workout, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings feeling devastated. I was a Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K Road Warrior in 2016. And, on that particular night, the Road Warrior coaches advised me not to continue with my goal of completing the 25k, as I was injured. However, I wasn’t devastated because I was injured, but because I felt like I was returning to the old version of Sarah that was over 400 pounds and was slowly dying. It was shocking to my system, as I had not felt that way in a couple years. Actually, not since before I had bariatric surgery in 2014 and slowly changed my life. (read more)

Sarah Koehn

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My relationship with running has not always been a positive one. What began as a healthy hobby turned into one of the many ways I inflicted punishment on myself. (read more)

Shannon Shen

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I started running seven years ago. At first, it started as a way to be healthier, but then I begin to enjoy it. I got excited about achieving small victories: being able to run a mile, running for 30 minutes nonstop, completing a 5K distance. I have not run continuously over the past seven years, but it is a form of exercise I can always come back to. (read more)

Solmeris Hernandes

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In 2012 my husband and I were planning to expand our family but unfortunately it was not as easy as with our first child. After consulting with the doctor, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome); in which the doctor told me it would be very difficult for me to have any more kids, unless I made a change in my eating habits and sedentary life. (read more)

Fifth Third River Bank Run

PO Box 2194
Grand Rapids, MI  49501-2194
616.771.1590   |   runinfo@53riverbankrun.com

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