A number of University of Richmond students were among the 38,685 participants in the 14th annual Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K race Saturday morning.
Richmond Sports Backers, a non-profit organization, organized the race, which USA Today named one of the best races in the country in 2009. The turnout from Richmond students is always high, said Jackie Holt, public relations and communications manager for Sports Backers.
"We're lucky to have so much support from Richmond students and alumni," Holt said. "It's definitely a fun and worthwhile event for students to get involved in."
Some students run, others walk and some come to support their friends and enjoy all that the event has to offer, she said.
Thirty bands played live music at the event, 134 people participated in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Dress Up and Run contest and spirit groups cheered on runners throughout the race. In addition to the 10k runners, 1,585 children ages 5-12 participated in the one-mile Kids Run.
The VCU Massey Cancer Center is the official charitable fundraising partner of the race.
Junior Annie Geckle said that she had decided to participate in the 10K because she had heard great things about the race from people who had participated in it before. Although she doesn't run often, she thought it might be a nice change from her normal routine, she said.
To prepare for the race, Geckle started running more at the gym. The most that she had run before Saturday was five miles, she said. Geckle's goal was to finish the race, a 6.2-mile course, which she completed in 50 minutes.
"It was really fun to participate with so many people," Geckle said. Other runners were dressed in costumes such as banana suits, different tetris shapes and tutus, she said.
Senior Joey Greener said that the biggest challenge he had faced was keeping a good pace during the race. Because the roads were so crowded, one had to pass other people to keep up a good pace, he said.
Greener, who ran the race in 1 hour, 6 minutes, trained with a lot of two- and three-mile runs, but he never ran the whole six miles before the race.
"I tried to save up my energy for race day," he said. "Even though I didn't train much, the crowds on the sidelines were so motivating and encouraged me to finish."
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Panhellenic President Lindsay Hudson, who was in charge of Greek participation in the event, said that many more members of the Greek community participated in the race than she had anticipated. In total, 127 members of the Greek community signed up to run in the race.
"It's great for our community to come together in support of one foundation," Hudson said. "Not only does it give us a sense of unity but it's an excuse for people to get off campus, have a good time and be active while doing it."
The Panhellenic Council held a pasta dinner the night before the race in the Heilman Dining Center. Participants were entered into a t-shirt raffle, bracelets were given out and a nutritionist came to the dinner, Hudson said.
The university also offered a training program led by Jason Blake, a personal trainer, to students interested in running the race. Fifteen students participated in the program, and of the students who trained only two or three didn't end up running in the race, he said.
Training for the race involved students running in groups at least twice a week for 10 weeks before the race, Blake said.
"Hopefully everyone will want to make it an annual event," Blake said.
Contact reporter Brooke Knetzger at email@example.com
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