Sports Backers will hold the popular Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in September — just not on the same day, not on Monument Avenue, and not with everyone together.
The event, which attracted more than 25,000 entrants last year, will have different options to meet public health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the event organizer announced Monday.
Registered participants will have four courses around the area to run, jog or walk whenever they want from Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27. They also can take part on a route of their choosing in a virtual option.
The four courses will be at Byrd Park in Richmond; at Dorey Park and Deep Run Park in Henrico County; and at Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield County.
Course details as well as maps can be found at www.sportsbackers.org.
Participants can navigate the courses from dawn to dusk. The courses will be marked with start and finish lines, mile markers and directional signage. Sports Backers said in a release that the courses won’t be completely closed to traffic.
The event originally was scheduled for March 28 before being postponed.
The usual 6.2-mile course starts downtown on Broad Street, moves over to Monument Avenue and finishes on West Franklin Street. Areas along Monument Avenue have been the sites of racial justice protests for the past two months, but Sports Backers public relations and communications manager Pete Woody said the protests “didn’t factor into the decision much at all.”
Woody said it was more about finding multiple courses that could be used for several days. Closing Monument Avenue and intersections for a span of days wasn’t really an option, he said.
“As it has done with many things in our lives this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our original plans for the 2020 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K, so we’ve worked hard and consulted with public health officials to provide the best experience possible for participants in a safe environment,” Megan Schultz, chief operating officer for Sports Backers, said in a release.
“It wasn’t possible to hold a large in-person event on Monument Avenue because we would have needed to close the road for more than a week, therefore we believe that setting up four courses over three days around the region is an innovative solution to provide people an opportunity to take part this year. We certainly look forward to getting back out on Monument Avenue with our participants, volunteers, sponsors, and spectators for the 10K in the future.”
Sports Backers said participants can have their race packets mailed for free, or they can have contactless pickup at the outdoor expo in The Diamond parking lot on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. Masks are required.
The RaceJoy app can be used for official finish times.
Entrants who can’t participate in the event can defer their registration to next year’s 10K, or they can have their registration fee credited to another Sports Backers event.
“We will be encouraging participants to wear a Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K shirt, put on their 10K number bib, dress up in a costume, support other participants on social media and bring their energy like they have always done in the past,” said Meghan Keogh, the race director.
“While we will be much more spread out in both space and time than in years past, we are confident that we can create a celebration of wellness that has made this race an inspirational force for active living in our region.”