If you’ve been down to the Reedy Creek parking lot and entrance to the James River Park System, you’ve probably noticed the construction area next to the boater’s changing station. The construction is actually the first steps in getting the long-delayed Greg Hawkins Memorial water fountain put in. Greg Hawkins was the former director of the VCU Outdoor Adventure Program who died of cancer almost two years ago.
In the fall of 2013, Hawkins’ friends, many of whom were members of the James River Outdoor Coalition, held the first James River Run to benefit the JRPS in Hawkins’ name. Over 150 runners came out that first year for a 5K on the riverside trails, and over 100 did the same for the second run. Enough money was raised to fund the fountain, which will include spigots for both humans and dogs.
But even though the fountain (there will actually be three scattered throughout the park) is funded, the James River Run continues in Hawkins’ name. The third annual JRR will take place this Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m, and this year organizers have added a 10K trail run to complement the 5K. Both races start and end at Reedy Creek Meadow next to the boat ramp.
JROC co-president Patrick Griffin said he’s hopeful they’ll get over 100 participants again this year. He added that 100 percent of the $30 fee will go to fund future projects like the water fountain in the James River Park. Hawkins was an active member for the Richmond outdoor community for over 20 years, Griffin said, as well as director of the VCU OAP for 13 years, and was instrumental in getting countless students involved in outdoor trips as leaders, participants, and volunteers.
So, if trail running is your thing, here’s a great opportunity to hit the trails, have a little competitive fun, and give back in honor of a guy who gave so much.