Sports Backers works year-round in prep for Richmond Marathon

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:51 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 6:34 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The VCU Health Richmond Marathon returns in its traditional format next weekend on Saturday, Nov. 13. And runners are not the only ones lacing up for the big day.

Staff at Sports Backers have been working around the clock in order to ensure they cross the finish line.

“It’s really starting to pick up and we can all feel it,” Pete Woody with Sports Backers said. “It’s awesome to feel the excitement as it leads up to race day.”

Woody has helped plan the Richmond Marathon every year for the past decade.

“It’s a year-long process,” he said. “There’s lots of work behind the scenes with sponsors, with partners, with police, health and safety crews, traffic control, staff planning, that sort of thing.”

Last year, Sports Backers had to get a bit innovative due to the pandemic. The race was spaced out over a span of 16 days.

Now, in its 44th year, the marathon is returning to Downtown Richmond in its traditional one-day format. It’s a considerable feat, but also a challenge for those planning it.

“Supply chain issues, shortages, the delays, and getting things have affected us too,” Woody said. “It’s been a challenge but a good challenge because it’s good to be back in person.”

Mapping the route is another piece of the puzzle.

“We have a person on our committee has been doing it for years. He’s the expert. He’s out there, he measures the course several times, he rides his bike, he’s got the mileage down and marks it,” Woody said.

Those with Sports Backers are not the only ones putting in the workday in and day out. Woody says it is a gratifying experience to see the athletes cross the finish line.

“I see all the emotions of people as they come across the finish line...the joy, the relief, the exhaustion,” Woody said. “They’re so happy because they train for weeks and months to achieve this goal.”

For Sports Backers, the hard work is all worth it.

“They often will say ‘thank you’ to us and we’re like ‘no thank you for taking part, you make it what it is!’ So it’s an incredible feeling that we’re really looking forward to being back,” Woody said.

There are tons of events happening other than just the race itself. Click here for a full schedule of events.

The Walmart Health and Fitness Expo is the first of many events next week, set to kick off at the Richmond Raceway on Thursday, Nov. 11 and Friday, Nov. 12.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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