Women Runners/Walkers Dig the Jig

Spectrum Health Irish Jig 5K sees increased female participants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 5, 2018 – There will no doubt be a lot of green being worn by runners and walkers at the 35th annual Spectrum Health Irish Jig 5K to be held on Saturday, March 17 – aka St. Patrick’s Day-  in East Grand Rapids. There could also be lots of pink, as the Jig is experiencing the national trend of increasing numbers of female participants at running events.

Since 2014 when the organization began tracking such data, the percentage of female participants in the Irish Jig has increased steadily. This year, almost 60 percent of the registered participants are female.

“What we are seeing is what events are seeing throughout the country,” said Kelsey Haynes, race director, Spectrum Health. “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.”

Haynes says that, perhaps thanks to recent moderate temperatures, registration is currently ahead of previous years.

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

The Irish Jig is recognized as one of Michigan’s premier 5K races and is limited to 4,500 participants. All registered participants will receive a short-sleeved technical shirt and commemorative 35th anniversary green beverage glass. The annual event seeks to raise funds and awareness for colorectal cancer prevention and treatment.

Online registration is available at Register for a discounted rate through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 15.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with 779,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This is the sixth time the organization has received this recognition.

(L-R) Irish Jig Race Director Kelsey Haynes and Donald Kim, MD, colorectal surgeon, Spectrum Health.



Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,200 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 220 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $459 million in community benefit in the last fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.