The sixth annual James River Run was a great way to kick off summer here in the river city, and was a successful fundraiser for the work of the James River Outdoor Coalition. Initially the brain child of JROC member and former president, Patrick Griffin, the James River Run was originally an put on in memory of Greg Hawkins. Greg was the former director of the VCU Outdoor Adventure program, and was versed in pretty much any outdoor activity you could engage in (and good luck keeping up with him). Greg was a major figure in the lives and adventures of so many burgeoning and seasoned outdoors-people in Richmond, his passing from lung cancer took all of his friends and family by surprise. There isn’t a day that goes by where Greg fails to appear in the memory of someone who had the fortune of knowing him.
The James River Run was the spark that raised the initial funding for the Greg Hawkins Fountain Project, and helped pay for a human and dog friendly water fountain at Reedy Creek, a wish of Greg’s. Ever since the first year, the run has served as a major fundraiser for JROC, and helped to aid in the mission of implementing user-driven improvements and education in the James River Park System.
Over 70 racers met up at Legend on Saturday, June 6th for either a 10k, or 4 mile trail run that led them through the newly established Buttermilk East to 22nd Street. There was a lap through Forest Hill Park for the 10k runners. Each distance then crossed the river at the Belle Isle suspension bridge, providing one of many views of the river as participants found out the reason for the name of the race. Runners continued on Brown’s Island, making their way to the 14th Street Bridge, and finally up and onto the flood wall near Legend for a final jaunt along the south shore of the James. The finish line was along the backside of Legend, down at the brewhouse. Runners were able to finish, and within a nano-second have a complementary Legend tasting to provide the reward for running in some hot and humid conditions. The post race raffle and prize giveaway was well supported this year, as 2016 saw the convergence of a new set of community partners. Legend Brewing Company, and Brown distribution came in with another year of donating a portion of proceeds from the Z-Dam Ale, with Legend donating some shirts and a gift certificate as prizes. Get yourself some of their refreshing brew for those hot river days! REI continued its support of JROC with the donation of the ever-popular Flash 18 day pack, and a National Parks growler as prizes. Take a trip out to your local REI Co-Op for the outdoor gear you need for the next adventure. Mountain Khakis absolutely blew everyone out of the water with the donation of multiple gift certificates for the purchase of their durable and stylish, mountain-ready clothing. Check out those high-altitude styles! Katie Lemmert, a new addition to JROC, took care of all of the graphic design for the event promotional materials and shirts. Kinker Press again printed all of the posters for the run you saw around town, spurring you to see what the buzz is about. RVA Paddlesports and Patrick Griffin were a major force in this year’s run, organizing the course and race logistics, as well as providing some coupons and a free roll lessons as prizes. Sports Backers was very gracious in donating course marking materials, and lending other durable race signage. The Richmond Road Runners Club helped us to keep up that timing game with a discounted rental of one of their nice time clocks. The race also couldn’t have gone smoothly without the support of the hardest working trail crew this side of the Mississippi. Andrew Alli and Michael Burton helped to check the course after it was set, and fixed any problems along the way via mountain bike.
We are grateful for anyone who helped make this event a success, from runners to donors. Stay tuned for the improvements coming to your James River Park System, that will be made using the profits from this year’s race.
Here are some photos of the event, courtesy of Rich Young.
JROC member Brian Mutchler helps with race registration.
Katie Lemmert with the race shirts, bearing her design work!
The gracious race hosts.
Racers ready to get their run on.
Racers getting their run on.
The ascent up the stairs onto the flood wall, with one of many views of the James River and downtown skyline.
Jennie Belt and her best friend returned for another year of being the first dog/ owner team to finish the 10k!
This gentleman celebrated his birthday by running with us!