Dennis Schultz

Rockford man runs 35th straight Riverbank Run despite injuries

May 26, 2011 // 0 Comments

by ANA OLVERA For the past 34 years, thousands of runners have participated in the annual Fifth Third River Bank Run, some only once and others continue coming back every year. Dennis Schultz, an affiliate faculty member at the College of Education at Grand Valley State University, has participated in the River Bank Run’s 25k race every year since its start in 1978. Schultz decided to run in the first River Bank Run while working at Forest Hills Northern Middle School after betting the physical education teacher he could finish the race in three hours. He showed up to the run wearing Adidas shoes and expecting to win the bet. Schultz only ran in high school to get in shape for basketball, football and baseball and never participated in track or cross country. “They were just a bunch of boys in underwear, trying to find their pants. That was my mentality,” Schultz said. However, he ended up finishing the race in two hours and 31 minutes, describing his first experience with the run as a “tremendous sense of accomplishment.” “I felt like my body was broken. But the support from other runners and the cooperation made it enjoyable,” Shultz said. He even recalls being asked if he had been in an accident after walking quite gingerly a couple days after the run. Schultz says no real training goes into preparing for the River Bank Run besides running with the North Kent Running Club in Rockford and their track workouts. “They are definitely my support group. They’re very encouraging and they’re probably more proud of the fact that I’ve run the Fifth Third Riverbank Run every year more than I am. There is just phenomenal camaraderie involved,” Schultz said. Another source of support for Schultz is his family, especially his daughters Kelly and Lindsay, who both ran in high school and continue to stay active. Schultz has participated in other marathons throughout the years, but now primarily sticks to the River Bank Run. He also recently postponed a visit to an orthopedic doctor for what may be a torn ligament in his left knee. After being reassured by doctors that running did not contribute to his knee injury, Schultz knew he had to keep his consecutive […]