Mike Guswiler

Success in sports is measured in many ways. One marker of success, especially at the West Michigan Sports Commission, is the number of “firsts.” Our purpose is to promote and attract youth and amateur sporting events to the region to grow our local economy and improve our quality of life. One way to do that is to challenge ourselves to bring new events and tournaments across a variety of sports. And 2014 was a banner year – not only for the region, but for Michigan. Take a look at some of the highlights of our year:

Don Kern
Guest Blogger

The 11th year of the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon is Oct. 19. It seems like yesterday when the event was born.

In October 2003, when the Millennium Park was being developed, we explored some of the trails being paved in connection with the project. My running buddy (and co-conspirator) Shawn Sweet and I were doing math along the way.

Our conclusion: “A couple of 13-mile out-and-back loops, and we could put on a marathon here.”

Marc Dettman
Guest Blogger

While gran fondos have been major amateur recreational cycling events in Europe (most notably Italy) for decades that draw thousands of participants, the “gran fondo” or “big ride” is relatively new to the American cycling scene. But within the span of just a few years, gran fondos have sprung up across the United States, from New York to San Francisco – drawing thousands of cyclists with diverse backgrounds in the sport that range from racers, to club riders, to the casual two-wheel enthusiast.

Mike Byam
Guest Blogger


Whether you’re a first-time participant or an elite runner, crossing the finish line of a race is sweetest in the moment when the symbol of achievement is awarded. For most races, medals and ribbons are standard, but for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and many other women’s-only events across the country, we’ve recognized a trend and desire for something you can wear every day.