We couldn't be more excited to extend the Collegiate Running Association (CRA) partnership with the Sports Backers Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K presented by Kroger through 2017 and 2018. The Ukrop's 10K is one of the four largest 10K races in the U.S. and is a destination event for runners of all ages and abilities. Although the CRA is known as the only organization in the nation offering events open to the public with prize money specifically reserved for college students, our events and event partnerships appeal to runners with a vast range of abilities. From social runner to the ultra competitive, the events hosting our championships offer something for everyone. In our first three years we have awarded, through our championship events, over $64,000 in prize money to college students.
Even though we have awarded a large amount in prize money to college students in our first 3 years, I continue to be amazed how many people are unaware of the NCAA legislation changes allowing D1 student-athletes to accept prize money to cover their sport related expenses over a full calendar year. The legislation went into affect in August 2013 (see specific legislation here) and yet there are still folks who do not know the legislation changed. It gets frustrating for sure. It's a shame since it's hurting D1 college students who are permitted to legally accept prize money to cover their annual sport related expenses.
The CRA is committed to expanding opportunities for college students. As our many followers know, the NCAA covers cross country and track & field without offering opportunities in road, mountain or trail running. While USATF covers all disciplines, their divisions are split mostly by age [youth, junior (U20), senior and master (40+LDR)]. With these classifications there was a need for an organization offering specific championship and participation opportunities to college students in road, mountain and trail running. We also felt there was a need to help bridge the gap between traditional college and post undergraduate competition while awarding prize money to provide additional incentive for competitive runners to continue their education during and after exhausting NCAA eligibility.
As a non-profit 501c3 organization our mission is to expand opportunities and promote healthy lifestyles among college students while offering public events dedicated to providing a great experience to all the participants. The Ukrop's 10K offers all of this and more.
We have lived in the Richmond area for the past 15 years and have watched the metro area transform under the umbrella of running races, most noteably the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K. With upwards of 35,000 participants, more and more people make the race part of their New Year's resolution; training for the race under grey winter skies while looking ahead to the spring event. Training groups come together, especially on weekends, to prepare for completing the race. Some people test their limits pressing to achieve a personal best while others aim to simply finish the 6.2 miles. Regardless of the race day result, the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K's magic is how it brings people together and how it transforms our community. The stories are nearly endless. Stories of every day people who have overcome obstacles to get to the start line and more importantly, the finish line. We see the changes in this community and the healthy, active community it has become.
Our many thanks to the Ukrop's family for their community support and many contributions they have given to make a great RVA. Our deep appreciation to Sports Backers for giving the CRA the opportunity to partner with such an amazing, community event and providing college students opportunities while giving them a chance to see what our region has to offer. It's obvious when you visit Richmond it's an ActiveRVA with many trails, the James River and where running plays a healthy role of bringing people together.
Below is an announcement we released today detailing the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K hosting the Collegiate 10K Road Race National Championships for the next two years (2017 and 2018):