She registered for this year’s Monument 10k and thought nothing more of it. However, she recently found out that she’ll be the only contestant competing for $2,500 in one of the 10k’s signature events.
Almost two weeks ago, Melissa Phillips was told that she would have a chance to win $2,500.
“I really didn’t believe it at first,” said Phillips. Her husband, Tim, didn’t believe it either. “He thought it was scam at first. He asked me if they asked for my credit card number.”
Melissa was chosen at random from over 28,0001 registrants for the Ukrop’s Monument 10k. On March 31st, Melissa will be given advanced positioning on the course ahead of the elite athletes running the race. If she completes the race before the rest of the field, she will win the Dash for Cash and the $2,500 prize. Melissa’s starting location has not been determined yet.
Melissa ran her first half marathon in 2008, and ran her first marathon–the Richmond Marathon–in 2011. She said that she has run the 10k (6.2 miles) for the past three years. Melissa grew up in Virginia Beach, and after graduating from James Madison University in 2008, Melissa moved to Richmond. She currently works for the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority.
Melissa typically trains for non-marathon races using a flexible schedule of runs that vary in distance and time. “I try to get a good mix in a couple of days a week.” Now, with $2,500 on the line, she anticipates training more rigorously, taking four or five days out of the week to run. “I really want to train a lot harder,” she said. She wants to feel more confident and prepared come the 10k.
Since Melissa will begin the Dash for Cash before the elite athletes begin their heat, she will be the only person on the course at the start of the race. “It’s definitely intimidating,” said Melissa. However, while a member of the Richmond Roadrunner’s Club, an organization that encourages running in the area and that stages group runs, Melissa said that “most of the time I run by myself.” She said that her propensity to run solo will prove an asset, as well as the cheering from avid fans and spectators. “That will help me go.”
If she is fortunate enough to win the Dash for Cash time, she’ll use a portion of her winnings to travel to Arizona to visit her brother and meet her new nephew.
“I’m going to try my best,” said Melissa. “I feel very supported by the Richmond community.
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- As of the February 1st, which was the deadline to participate in the Dash for the Cash contest, the race had over 28,000 registered runners. Last year the race ended up with 41,000 participants. Insane! ↩
photo courtesy of Sports Backers