For years now the Monument Avenue 10K has been the sign for me that spring is here. It’s always held a week or so after the first official day of spring, and the weather can be all over the map, but there’s just something about seeing 40,000 people out being active that gives me that springtime itch.
Last year 38,685 people entered the 10K. That’s below the 2011 record of 41,314 but still a huge number and enough to make it the 8th-largest road race in the country. This year, registration opened on Dec. 1, and as of Monday (Feb. 3rd), according to Jackie Stoneburner, the Sports Backers head of PR and marketing, they had over 24,500 participants registered, putting it on pace to be just below the 40,000 mark.
By contrast, in 2000, the race’s first year, just 2,462 people entered.
For the first time this year, the Sports Backers are pushing to bring on board 10,000 new runners. Stoneburner said they typically see about 8,000-9,000 newbies every year, so “we thought if we publicly announced a goal of 10,000, it would get people to start thinking about friends and family that may need that push to get started.”
The biggest new thing for this year’s 10K, she added, “is hosting the Collegiate Running Association’s 10k Road Race National Championships. This means we are doing away with ‘elite’ athletes. The prize money — $10,000 total — will be given to the top college runners.”
According to a Sports Backers’ press release: The only requirement for those interested in competing in a Collegiate Running Association national championship— for road racing, trail racing or mountain racing— is that the participant must be currently enrolled in at least one college course at any level, freeing runners from various restrictions such as maintaining a full-time status and competing only during a four or five year window. These eligibility requirements provide the first opportunity for a true national championship that transcends college divisions to exist.
Click here to sign up for the 15th running of the Monument Avenue 10K. The cost is $40 if you sign up before before March 1. After that, the price jumps to $45. Walk up registration is $55.