I’m George Ranville. Mark Sisson and I coordinate the start/finish area of the marathon. 2012 will be my 7th year working with the awesome Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon staff and we are all dedicated to making your experience here better each and every year. The fencing, electrical power, tents, banners, flags, heat for the med tent, tables and chairs, trash cans, toilets, road closures around the starting area, and of course the chili and beer garden, are just some of things we set up. Our goal is to be standing around calmly well before the singing of the national anthem.
I conquered my first marathon at Grandma’s in Duluth a few years back, and then ran Grand Rapids, Glass City in Toledo, Bayshore in Traverse City, and Marquette in da U.P. After a switch to minimalist shoes last September, I’m currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. I recently completed my first triathlon – that was fun – so I’m going to have to fit a few more of those into the schedule too!
My wife Gail of 32 wonderful years, is the real marathon runner in the family, (Boston in 2012) and also is on the marathon staff. She’s the curly blond you will see around the event and as an RD, she has overseen your food and refreshments. Gail is a relentless trainer, and has not missed a day of training in years. I can usually see her ponytail fading into the distance ahead of me when we train.
In real life, I’m the Executive Director of the Grand Rapids based charity, Alternatives in Motion, which has been providing wheelchairs and mobility to people without insurance across Michigan and in neighboring states for the last 17 years. www.AimGR.org I met Marathon Don at a 5k race held at a local school fundraiser for our cause. Don thought our mission was way cool, and wanted to help. He set up several 5k “brewery runs” that raised money and friends for Alternatives in Motion. We have been buddies ever since and together have helped many people who are in dire need of a wheelchair. I recruited Don to our Board of Directors in 2009, and he became the President of the Board beginning in January of 2010. Visit our website and sign up for our eNews.
On race day, be sure to have your loved ones purchase Finish Line Flowers in support of Alternatives in Motion. Find them in the Start/Finish area. Have a great marathon! See you at the beer garden!