Once again, Sports Backers has managed to pivot a traditional race due to the pandemic and turn it into something awesome. Normally held in downtown Richmond, starting and ending in Monroe Park adjacent to the VCU campus in late March/early April, this year’s race was delayed a bit. That’s OK, though, because it coincided nicely with the start of marathon training!
Our team, the Pink Nation, met on one of the two courses at Dorey Park on Sunday, and many of us ran the 10k race together. Sports Backers also had another official race course in Byrd Park, and since the courses were open for 4 days, you could take on the challenge of running both, earning you both an extra, special medal, and your own container of Ukrop’s famous rainbow cookies. (Unfortunately, not vegan.) I’m regretting not taking part in the challenge!
Speaking of rainbow cookies, Sports Backers commissioned RVA Coffee Stain artist Doug Orleski to design the medal and shirt this year, inspired by the famous cookie itself. My kids, now teenagers, still remember getting a free rainbow cookie whenever we shopped at Ukrop’s.
The Ukrop’s Monument 10k is as much a Richmond tradition as the rainbow cookie, usually with over 25,000 participants. It’s one of the most popular 10k races in the nation. There are training teams in conjunction with the metro Richmond YMCA locations, which is how many area runners first experience the benefits of organized group runs in the RVA. I’ve had the pleasure of both participating in and coaching with the 10k training team! This race is known as a gateway experience to tackling more significant distances, and I am certainly a product of this phenomenon!
Sunday’s run was hot, but not impossible. I got to run with my fellow teammate, Maria, and catch up with her about her year off from serious running for a number of reasons, including, like many of us, the pandemic. My second official “race” on the Virginia Capital Trail, it certainly helped to be familiar with the terrain. The trail is definitely not flat, but it was beautiful, as usual, with lots of great company from friends on the course!
Thanks again, Sports Backers, for yet another great event! Here’s hoping that next year, we can race downtown again!
Have you run an event with Sports Backers? Have you participated in any Sports Backers training teams? I’d love to hear about your experiences! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.