RICHMOND, Va (WWBT) - It’s a unique Richmond Marathon, with runners having 16 days to get their miles in on the official course. That span kicked off on Saturday morning at Dorey Park.
The course moved from downtown to the park and the Virginia Capital Trail, and although it was a different setting, some of the same energy and enthusiasm made the trip along with the race.
“The support we had out there today was just fantastic,” said marathon runner Carrie Roth. “Sure, it’s not the same as what a normal year is, but that doesn’t really matter. It was perfect for today.”
“You had to watch out for cars at traffic stops and that kind of thing, which challenged me a little bit,” added Brandon Harrelson, who traveled from Wendell, North Carolina, to run the half-marathon. “Otherwise, great course, great track, great race, great people.”
Runners did not know exactly what to expect. The course was and out-and-back route along the Capital Trail, much different from the downtown and surrounding area setting of years past. The runners we spoke with, however, said they all gave each other a boost.
“Everybody was taking it real serious, real safe,” said half-marathon runner Adam Crigger, who hails from Charlottesville. “There’s distance the whole way, we’ve got masks on when we’re stopped and not drinking water. The energy of passing people, being passed, and just everybody is infectious around here.”
“To have people that were just fresh and full of energy as you were coming back in, that really refueled you,” noted Roth. “Just really some inspirational people out there. It was a lot of fun.”
Among those running on Saturday was Philip Gibrall. The 71-year old is the last of the Old Lions, a group that has run every single Richmond Marathon. Gibrall completed his 43rd running of the event on opening morning. He still gets plenty of cheers from the other lions who have since stopped running the event, as well as plenty of friends and family.
“My high school friends, my family and other friends-- you can’t do it without some support,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of support on the course, but I knew they were here.”
This year’s Richmond Marathon is a different experience and one that these runners are making the most of, but it’s no secret that many are looking forward to getting back to the normalcy of downtown.
“Next year when we get past the COVID deal, we can go back downtown and run that course, because I know that’s a lot of fun,” Harrelson said.
Despite the change, Roth could not have been happier.
“We have to adapt, and everybody adapted beautifully and we’re really, really fortunate.”
The official Richmond Marathon, Half-Marathon and 8K course at Dorey Park and the Virginia Capital Trail is staffed from 5:00 AM-5:30 PM now through November 22. Runners can register here.
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