Monument Ave 10k has been a great experience each of the 10 plus years I have participated. Some years it kicks off my racing season or just gets me pumped that warm weather is on its way. Other years I go in with no training what so ever and just partake in the race since it’s what us Richmonders are supposed to do.
Most of the time however I am able to train a month or two before the race after hibernating through winter. This year I have a decent training base and am looking forward to laying it all out there on Monument Avenue. With the race closing in, I figured now is better than ever to write about some of my favorite Monument Ave 10k moments.
Early Monument Races
My early Monument Ave 10k years consisted of spending the weekend home from school at Old Dominion University. Each year varied greatly as far as racing ability, but it was always great to be back in town and see good friends.
I ran cross country and track in high school and for a few years after high school a bunch of us met to catch up on life. Over the years the number has dwindled down to a select few, but its funny how I always run into those few people without any planning even though the race has some 40,000 people participating.
During my first couple races it was also fun to go through the post race venue and find all the free food/giveaways. The secret was finding a vendor who gave away their items with a big bag so you could stash the rest of your items in there. One could always tell Monument Ave 10k had just passed when I had a collection of sample size Duke’s mayonnaise in my fridge.
The Race of the Under Dog
The weather varies greatly each year at Monument and in 2007 my best friend made the decision to run as Under Dog for the race. I had never dressed up and this was his first time, so I decided to run with him and have some fun.
Come to find out, the costume was made entirely of thick fleece, and he thought he was ok to run in it since it had been really cold. However, once race day came around, it was a perfect spring morning, probably in the low 50’s or 60’s and he was completely miserable. His cape kept getting tangled up in his feet while running and the volunteers would try their best to help by throwing water at him. But the water would just splash right off his costume.
I spent most of the race laughing with him, directing the water at his face and sometimes even holding his cape. He just kept running the race, laughing, and giving fives to the spectators. Our finishing times were still pretty impressive considering how much he stopped to pose for pictures.
Race Within A Race
In 2014 I had just spent the winter season recovering from a marathon and my body was still in steady but slow mode. I decided to run with some friends of mine, who are pretty athletic but do not consider themselves runners. I started back in their wave since they had signed up pretty late and we spent the first couple miles weaving in and out of people, going quick but relaxed.
Each mile however, as the crowd thinned out, we picked it up and soon it became a race between the 3 of us. We each battled for lead spot while moving through the other runners. Then at mile 5, both of them kicked it into another gear and left me in the dust. Here I thought I had the upper hand as a runner, but that was disproved rather quickly.
Even though I lost the race within a race, I had a lot of fun and gave them some bragging rights. But in 2015 I started fast, never let up, didn’t play any games and set a new personal record.
This year I will be trying to set a new Monument Ave 10k PR and finish in the top 250. I could also use some more Duke’s mayonnaise.