With ‘Love Rox,’ new era dawns for RVA runners, triathletes

February 20, 2015 · 2 minute read

For 11 years, Richmond Multisports offered triathlons all over the region. And they were popular, too. In last year’s seven races, 4,000 race spots were sold (some people, of course, did more than one race).

“They probably got more people started in triathlon than anyone else in the Mid-Atlantic,” said Patton Gleason, Richmond Multi-Sports CEO.

The Rocketts Landing triathlon features a James River Swim. Credit: Rocketts Landing

The Rocketts Landing Triathlon features a James River Swim. Credit: Rocketts Landing

He speaks about RMS in the past tense because it wasn’t actually his company. Not then. Laurie Householder Mehler started RMS and built “a really really strong community,” according to Gleason. “They helped make Richmond a place where people get out and do active stuff.”

But this past December she sold the company to local entrepreneur and newbie triathlete Avrum Elmakis, owner of Best Bully Sticks, and Gleason came on as CEO soon thereafter.

This Sunday, when the gun goes off for the RMS-produced Love Rox Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K, a new era will dawn for RVA-area triathletes and runners.

Elmakis did a number of RMS tris last year, Gleason explained, and “he had this vision of what RMS was in its current state, and putting all these energy effort and resources into a vision of what it could be.”

Since the purchase, RMS has gone from putting on their own events to keeping those events, adding new events, managing events produced by others and offering timing services for other events.

Last year's Love Rox races started and finished near Brown's Island. Credit: rrrc.org

Last year’s Love Rox races started and finished near Brown’s Island. Credit: rrrc.org

Gleason said RMS’s triathlon lineup will stay the same. And this weekend’s Love Rox road races will continue. In addition, they added the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Twilight 4-miler, the East Coast Triathlon Festival, the Brewers’ Cup 5K and 1 Mile at the National Beer Expo, the Great Pumpkin Run 5K and Kids’ Mile, and the Central Virginia Turkey Trot 5K and Kids’ Mile.

Generally, Gleason said, the approach was to take what worked and build on it. “Can we enhance the things that were great about those (races). What can we do to make it a more fun, more festive atmosphere? Can we make running a triathlon more accessible and lower those barriers to entry? You can expect much more of a festival atmosphere post-race in everything we do.

“I think there’s room to create events that are profoundly impactful for people in terms of how fun it is, how much it improves the quality of their life. There’s room to do some really great stuff and showcase the best of this city and also work with some really great partners.”

It appears the new RMS is off to a good start. Gleason said the half-marathon that was supposed to take place in Williamsburg this weekend was cancelled due to the weather and many of those runners have signed up for the Love Rox half. A race that had 900 entrants last year, this year has over 1,500.