GRAND RAPIDS, MI – It was bad enough that the promised margarita wasn’t there at the end.
The finish line was gone, too.
The “Margarita Madness 5k Fun” in Riverside Park promised runners, walkers, even just drinkers, a margarita at the end of the race.
Trouble was, organizers of the event were denied a liquor license by the state Liquor Control Commission.
Grand Rapids police were aware of the denial and sent plainclothes officers to look around. They called in uniformed officers after alcohol was being served and no one checked identification.
Police arrested the organizer, who travels the country for such events, for sale/delivery/importing of alcohol without a license.
Police were going to let his wife manage the rest of the event but she became “uncooperative” and was arrested, too, police said.
Earlier, the city told organizers they could hold the event but they could not provide alcohol. Because the race had already started when officers saw violations, police did not stop the run – only the alcohol and after party.
A runner, Jessica Zost, 28, of Grand Rapids, was disappointed she didn’t get the margarita. She paid for it. It was supposed to be part of the fun. So was finishing the race. Organizers took down the finish line before she and her sister-in-law and friend got there. She has finished other races. It was a let down for first timers.
“You feel like it’s an accomplishment to get to the finish line and it’s not there,” she said.
When she got her medal, she asked a worker about the margaritas.
“She said the police came and shut it down.”
She felt cheated. She registered the morning of the event. Organizers would have known they weren’t allowed to serve alcohol.
“For an event planned for months, you’d think it’d been a little better organized,” she said.