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Beep! Beep! Grandville 'roadrunner' conquering every city street

Catherine Kortman doesn't know if COVID-19 will postpone her fall cross country season, but she's preparing for it anyways with a unique summer challenge.

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — How do athletes often improve in their respective sport?

They challenge themselves.

A West Michigan runner is throwing down the gauntlet in Grandville, following through on a personal challenge that will result in her belief that all of the city's roads and streets belong to her.

Catherine Kortman started running competitively when she was 12 years old. By the time she entered her freshman year at Grandville Calvin Christian High School, she'd already started making a name for herself in both cross country and track.

Credit: Catherine Kortman
Catherine Kortman is a 2-time All-State cross country runner at Grandville Calvin Christian HS. She's also a conference and regional champion.

"She's been our top runner each of the last 3 years," said Laurens TenKate, who is the cross country head coach at Grandville Calvin Christian. "She's been all-state twice as well as a regional and conference champion."

Catherine will be a senior this fall, but with the COVID-19 pandemic remaining in full force, a lot is undecided about the upcoming school year, including whether or not the cross country season will be postponed, or possibly canceled.

"All the unknowns are no fun," said Catherine, 17. "I just love to run and compete."

When she's not competing against other runners, she often competes against herself, creating personal challenges and goals, including one this past spring that's a doozie.

"I decided I wanted to run down every road and street in Grandville this summer," said Catherine. "It's been in my mind for years to do."

In May, Catherine went to the City of Grandville's website and printed off a map which had a street index listed. Once she had that in hand, she chose June 1 as the day she was going to start the challenge.

When each day's run is done, she crosses off the roads she conquered on the map, then scout's out tomorrow's trek.

"There are a lot of short roads in Grandville," said Catherine. "It's fun to see new parts of the city."

As of July 10, Catherine says she's a little more than half done and if she can run everyday for the rest of the month, she'll be finished before August.

Credit: Catherine Kortman
Catherine Kortman (left) being pushed by Grandville Calvin Christian High School's cross country coach Laurens TenKate during a meet.

"She's got a plan [with this challenge] and she's very efficient and organized," said TenKate. "I'm impressed."

When it's over, Catherine knows she won't receive a collectible bib to pin to her wall or a shiny new medal to hang. 

"It'll just be fun to know that I did it," she said.

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