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Health system producing Irish Jig

March 6, 2018
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Spectrum Health Irish Jig Race Director Kelsey Haynes and Dr. Donald Kim, colorectal surgeon
Irish Jig Race Director Kelsey Haynes, left, stands with Dr. Donald Kim, a colorectal surgeon. Courtesy Spectrum Health

A 5K race is taking place on St. Patrick’s Day to raise money for colorectal cancer patients.

The 35th-annual Spectrum Health Irish Jig 5K will be held in East Grand Rapids, starting at Wealthy Street and Greenwood Avenue.

The event is meant to raise awareness of colorectal cancer and raise funds to support screenings, prevention and diagnostic services for those who may not be able to afford it.

The Irish Jig is limited to 4,500 participants.

All registered participants will receive a short-sleeved T-shirt and commemorative 35th-anniversary green beverage glass. 

The top age-group winners will receive prizes, and the top overall finishers will receive cash awards.

Registration is $20 for people 12 and younger and $30 for those 13 and older.

After 11:59 p.m. on March 15, rates will increase to $25 and $35.

Kelsey Haynes, race director, said perhaps due to recent moderate temperatures, registration is currently ahead of previous years.

“We are very pleased with the number of registrations this year,” Hayne said. “We are looking forward to a great turnout.”

This year, almost 60 percent of those registered participants are female.

Since 2014 when the organization began tracking such data, the percentage of female participants in the Irish Jig has increased steadily.

“What we are seeing is what events are seeing throughout the country,” Haynes said. “Women and girls are very interested in good health and maintaining healthy lifestyles. Plus, they care about their community and support important causes. The Irish Jig is seen as both a fun social event and a way to help promote colorectal cancer awareness.”

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