Learn more about the Monument 10k, win a spot on the Sports Backers training team!

Read the article, fill out the form, get yourself on that team.

Photo by: TexasEagle

We’re very excited to announce that Sports Backers is giving away one membership to the YMCA 10k Training Team in honor of our annual Fitness Guide!

Fill out the form at the end of this piece, and we will choose one lucky walker, runner, jogger, sprinter, crawler, shmoozer, dancer, sidler, jumping-jacker, grapeviner, jazz-hander, or however you choose to make your way through those 10 kilometers on Monument Avenue on April 9th.

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For the past sixteen years, participants and onlookers have come out in good moods and with a whole lot of energy for one of Richmond’s most bustling events. But it hasn’t always been that way–the Monument 10k began humbly with only 2,462 participants.

We spoke with Pete Woody at Sports Backers about the life of the Ukrop’s Monument 10k–how it began, how it grew, and why it’s such a big deal.

Q. What were the circumstances surrounding the birth of the 10k?

It was 2000. The vision of it was that it was this beautiful historic street that people came to when they visited Richmond, and that people here liked to show it off. Sports Backers wanted to create a signature race to show Monument Avenue nationally. There weren’t a lot of great sports facilities in place back then, so we had to take advantage of the natural resources we had.

Sports Backers had taken over the Richmond Marathon in ’98, the success of that sort of led to us wanting to do other running events, and Monument was a natural attraction to hold one.

Q. What was the foot race scene back then?

The marathon was here, and people sort of knew of that as a running race, and a lot of people knew about Monument Avenue as a historic place they would show to visiting friends an family–they knew it was a great place a beautiful street with beautiful homes and architecture. That’s a natural draw.

Looking at Richmond, it’s a really active place, and people love to get outside and celebrate that. They love to participate, wheter they’re walking or jogging or running, or whether it’s people who live along Monument who come out and give parties on their balconies, or whether it’s the bands that perform. What makes it successful is the awesome community support, whether from participants, volunteers, or spectators. Now the marathon is the same way. Certainly the course helps, too–it’s a flat and fast course, it’s great if you’re trying to walk or if you’re a runner trying to get a great personal record.

And we’ve gotten really great support from our partners over the years.

Q. What was the growth like?

Any time you have a new venture, you’re never sure what to expect, but the pieces were certainly in place. The first year was 2,462, then up to 4,700, and then 6,500, and then 10,000, and it kept going and going. It’s the momentum. Somebody has a great time this year and convinces family and friends or coworkers to come do it with them the next year.

Q. Besides tourism exposure for running fans who come to town for the race, what you think the existence of the 10k has done for Richmond?

I think it’s really helped the celebration of the active community. That’s something Sports Backers is really committed to. The 10k’s been a great way to do that, whether it’s on race day when people come out, or on training teams where people are working for weeks towards a goal.

It also helps Sports Backers accomplish more of our own goals. Since it’s one of our signature events, the success of that has helped us build and dedicate resources to other community initiatives, whether that’s youth running or bike programs, the success of the 10k allows us to highlight those, and that’s what we’re about.

Q. When did the training teams start being such a thing?

The first year of the training team was 2002, and we’ve partnered with the YMCA ever since. Up to that point, there really weren’t many large running races in Richmond, so a lot of people just weren’t experienced. The training team really kind of catered to that grassroots, novice, walker/jogger level.

There was certainly demand for it, they just didn’t know how to begin–what a training plan should look like, how should shoes fit,1 what sort of mileage they should be doing, what’s the best way to eat and hydrate…

Q. But can you be on a training team if you’re an experienced runner just trying to set a new personal best time?

There’s different levels–there’s walkers, novice, intermediate…once you get there on-site, you split up into different groups, and the coaches will help you from there. The goal is to have something for every level of runner, whether you’re just geting off the couch and you want to walk, or whether you’re going for a faster PR time.

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Sports Backers proudly presents the Ukrop’s Monument 10k on April 9th. Also, keep an eye out for any news of their Fitness Warriors–fitness buffs who teach within communities that don’t have a whole lot of access to big gyms and such. They’re about to celebrate their second graduating class of folks who might just be available in your neighborhood, ready to teach you many things!

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10k Team Entry Giveaway Form – Ends Friday, January 22nd

Fill out the form below, and we’ll choose a random winner on Friday, January 22nd to get a free entry onto the YMCA 10k Training Team. Then you can get sweatin’ for the actual 10k on April 9th. Oh, and by the way, the 10k Training Team entry includes an entry to the 10k itself.

Please use an email address that you check regularly, as we will use it to notify you if you win. If we don’t hear back from you in 24 hours, we’ll give the prize to the next eager beaver on the list.

Fill out my online form.

  1. By the way, we’ll have a piece about how to find the right running shoes this very week! 
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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