Couple in their 80s running the River Bank Run

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GRAND RAPIDS -- Thousands of runners from around the world will be participating in Saturday's Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, but one couple will really stand out. Dennis and Jeni Hoekstra of Grand Rapids are 85 and 83 years old, respectively.

The Grand Rapids couple has been participating in the event for more than ten years -- Dennis, or "Denny" as his friends call him, as a runner, and Jeni as a walker. Both will be taking on the 5 kilometer distance.

"We want to keep an active life," says Denny. "We ski and golf... Do crazy things with our kids."

In fact, both Denny and Jeni just returned from Kenya Thursday night. They were doing some mission work for two faith-based organizations they are actively involved in: Partners Worldwide and Timothy Leadership Training. They say they slept on the plane and feel ready for tomorrow's run despite the long trip. They also say their active lifestyles help keep them ready for their mission work.

"I couldn't go to Kenya on these long trips and work like I do, if I didn't keep physically fit," says Jeni.

Partners Worldwide is an economic development organization. In their latest trip to Kenya, for example, they were helping farmers increase milk production. Timothy Leadership Training helps pastors in underdeveloped countries become better leaders. They are using tomorrow's 5k to help raise money for these organizations.

They say the River Run helps them raise about $20,000 a year for their mission work. If you would like to donate to either organization, click on the links above.

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