City prepares for Run Richmond 16.19 event

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:21 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Come Saturday, Richmond will combine its tradition of road races with its rich African American history.

The city is holding its inaugural running event Run Richmond 16.19. The road race will incorporate two races: a shorter 6.19-mile run and a longer 16.19K run, which equates to just over 10 miles.

The race will start at Kanawha Plaza in downtown Richmond and move through the city’s most historic sites at Rocket’s Landing and Ancarrow’s Landing, where Africans first set foot on American soil after being shipped upstream to Richmond.

The shorter run will incorporate sites through Shockoe Bottom, Church Hill, Capitol District, Jackson Ward and Gambles Hill.

The distances harken back to the start of the African American slave trade in 1619, when enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to Virginia.

“We’ve got the reconciliation monument on Main Street. We have a lot to see in Jackson Ward because of all the history there with everything that Maggie walker accomplished and lots of murals and street art,” said Pete Woody with RVA Sports Backers. “I think it’s a really unique opportunity to be able to celebrate some of the statues and landmarks that we have in Richmond.”

Woody says he wants the 16.19 run to be the city’s next great race here in Richmond, not just for the distance or the challenge of the course; he also wants it to be known as a teaching tool for Black History.

“It’s understanding, awareness and bringing people together; those are the biggest things we’re looking forward to,” Woody said. “It’s really powerful to see it from the pedestrian viewpoint from the street level running and walking.”

As participants race forward, Dr. Monroe Harris of the Black History Museum says they will also be moving backward through Richmond’s Black History.

“I want them to take the time and understand and be aware of where you’re running and those landmarks and highlights of history that you will encounter. And it will increase your understanding,” Harris said.

The Djimon Hounsou foundation is partnering with RVA Sports Backers, the Black History Museum and the Cultural Center of VA, among other organizations, to make the event possible.

“I felt this compelling need, this inherent obligation to give back to my continent, to my people, and to champion the idea of reconciliation and reconnection,” Honsou said.

Run Richmond 16.19 will become the first event of the Africa Reconnect Event Series that the Djimon Hounsou Foundation plans to roll out in Richmond (Virginia), Liverpool (UK), and Ouidah (West Africa) from this year onward.

“We’re highlighting some of the contributions of African Americans here in the city as part of a broader program that the Djimon Honsou foundation is doing to put emphasis on the African Diaspora,” Harris said.

But ultimately, Harris hopes this race will unite people from different walks of life who might not otherwise come together.

“No Parking” zones will go into effect in the early morning of Sept. 17, with road closures beginning at 6 a.m.

The event will close streets, including the 14th Street Mayo Bridge, portions of East Main Street, several streets in Shockoe Bottom, the T. Tyler Potterfield footbridge to Brown’s Island, and several roads from Tredegar Street to Jackson Ward.

To see the full list of closures, click here.

For more information and to sign up, visit