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):
November 27, 2016 - RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Sports Backers announced today the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Kroger will serve as host to the Collegiate Running Association’s 2017 and 2018 Collegiate 10K Road Race National Championships. This will mark the fourth and fifth consecutive years the best and brightest college students will turn their focus to Richmond as a destination for the annual event.
“The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K is one of the biggest and best road races in the U.S. and we could not be more thrilled to extend our partnership with this event and the Richmond Sports Backers to bring college athletes to Richmond,” said Collegiate Running Association co- founder Jon Molz. “The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K has been a cornerstone for our national championships and a destination for top college runners, along with social runners, for the past three years. The commitment to host the Collegiate National Championships in both 2017 and 2018 gives students from across the nation the opportunity to plan and schedule this event as part of their spring schedules for the next two years. We are dedicated to helping it grow. The amazing opportunities for runners, both social and competitive, are what make this event so special.”
"We are very excited to partner with the Collegiate Running Association to bring the 2017 and 2018 10k Road Race National Championship back to Richmond," said Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k Event Director Meghan Keogh. "The Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k is one of our signature events and a great way to further Sports Backers' mission of encouraging active lifestyles and creating fitness opportunities. It's great to work with an organization like the Collegiate Running Association that shares these goals, and we look forward to great events in 2017 and 2018."
Over 7,000 college students have registered for the Monument Avenue 10k over the last three years, and there has been a substantial elite presence at the front of the fields as well. On the men’s side, 2016 Olympic Games 5K Silver medalist Paul Chelimo, who captured the first U.S. Olympic medal in the event since the 1968 Olympic Games, won back in 2014; Joe Gray, the 2016 World Mountain Running Champion, won in 2015. Kellyn Johnson, a two-time champion on the women’s side (2014 & 2015), recently finished 4th in the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 10,000m and 6th in the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon.
“Our Collegiate Running Association mission is to create new opportunities for all college students who enjoy running and active, healthy lifestyles,” said Collegiate Running Association president Steve Taylor. “Our vision includes elite runners, club runners, and social runners all converging at the same road, mountain and trail running events. Since the first year our dream has become reality at the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k and we could not be more excited and dedicated to this event and everything it offers participants. This is not just a race, it’s a huge social event with an electric atmosphere.”
As the first road race with prize money reserved specifically for college students, the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Collegiate Running Association 10k Road Race National Championships attracted a slew of highly decorated runners enrolled in college classes across the country as they battled for a $10,000 prize purse. In 2017 and 2018 the streets of Richmond will once again welcome the nation’s college students for an amazing view of the city. Whether you are looking for social or competitive opportunities, the 2017 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K will provide it all.