Richmond Marathon runners will have a new finish line to cross later this year, as the river district will be the final destination for thousands of runners. Not only has the event changed its finish line, it has also found a new sponsor for the event’s 35th year.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be the new sponsor for the Richmond Marathon beginning this fall. The announcement was made public this afternoon at 5th and Tredegar streets across from Brown’s Island by officials from Anthem, Sports Backers, and City Councilwoman Kathy Graziano.
“We are thrilled that we are going to be the proud sponsor of the Richmond Marathon,” said Burke King, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, speaking to a crowd. “We know this event will stay one of the best marathons on the east coast.” The event will now be referred to as the Anthem Richmond Marathon, one that will celebrate its 35th year later this fall. SunTrust had been the main sponsor of the event for the past fourteen years.
“It’s been a great relationship,” said Jon Lugbill, executive director of Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers, the organization that puts on the Richmond Marathon, Monument 10k, and other local events. He said that SunTrust’s decision to relinquish their sponsorship with the marathon was a “business decision,” and that the two former partners separated amicably. “We thank them for the years of service.”
The other major announcement today was a new finish line location for the Richmond Marathon. Beginning this year, the finish line will be moved to 5th and Tredegar streets. Lugbill said that race finishers will end their 26.2-mile course at “Richmond’s greatest asset: our riverfront.”
City Councilwoman Kathy Graziano spoke at the event and said that there is “no more welcoming site than the James River” for runners who complete the marathon. She also touted the economic significance of the Richmond Marathon, referencing a recent study that found that large sporting events are a “major driver of overnight stays” in the city, which increases revenue for local businesses. She said that it is estimated that this year’s marathon “will have an economic impact of over $10 million.”
Afterwards, Lugbill announced the creation of Active RVA, a new initiative aimed to make the Richmond region one of the most active in the country. Some of the components of the initiative include: building bicycle infrastructure, encouraging corporate wellness activities, and building facilities. Lugbill said that future goals will also include grant programs to provide low-income children with proper running shoes as well as running programs for all ages. “It’s a whole scale…to do what we can to reach everybody,” said Lugbill.
The announcement culminated with children of Woodville elementary school running down 5th Street and breaking finish line tape.
The Anthem Richmond Marathon will take place on November 10th.