At the Uncorked Half, Run Your Race and Help Others Run Theirs!
Jacki Quinlan is Director of Community Outreach for Sports Backers and the Keep It Moving community fitness initiative. Keep It Moving is the official event charity of the Uncorked Half on May 6, and helps hundreds of area residents get active and prepare for events throughout the year through income-based training programs.
Every Spring, thousands of Richmonders hit the pavement together in a unified movement to celebrate active living. Sure, the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Kroger is one of the biggest 10k events in the country, but for Richmond residents, it’s so much more than that. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, your cultural background, how old or how young you are, if you are new to living the active lifestyle or a veteran runner–as race day nears, everyone is on the same page. As race day approaches, phrases like, “Have you signed up yet?” and “Have you started training yet?” are heard all over RVA. And the hype begins early each year, with the YMCA 10k Training Team kicking off in January, middle and high school students staying after school for their run clubs, and groups of friends hitting the pavement together in pretty much every neighborhood gathering place you can think of–all in preparation for the big day.
The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k is an event that brings our community together in celebration of active living, and that’s not an accidental phenomenon. Sports Backers intended for it to be that way, bringing an exciting, block-party atmosphere to the 10k that you won’t find at many other events, ensuring that even the youngest of runners can participate by having the Virginia529 Kids Run kick off the day’s festivities, and creating training teams to provide the motivation and support that individuals need to complete the 6.2-mile distance.
While the 10k is one of Richmond’s favorite annual traditions and a fun day from start to finish, the goal of creating health equity and active communities in every corner of the Richmond region is a year-round pursuit, made even more pressing by the fact that the percentage of residents living below the poverty line in Richmond is currently the second highest in the state of Virginia. Keep It Moving, a program of Sports Backers, was specifically created to break down barriers to active living and provide resources to the communities and individuals that are most in need. Keep It Moving includes several initiatives to that end, such as the Fitness Warriors program that trains residents to lead free fitness classes in community centers, schools, churches, and other gathering places across the region. Keep It Moving also supports two 10k training teams, which are held in the Church Hill community of Richmond’s East End and the Bellemeade community in south Richmond.
Another important initiative of the Keep It Moving program is the provision of income-based rates for all of Sports Backers’ training teams, as an effort to ensure that cost is not a barrier for residents that are living below the poverty line. This year, over 220 individuals were able to participate in the YMCA 10k Training Team, which includes registration for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, through these income-based rates. As the event charity of the Uncorked Half Marathon, Keep It Moving will designate all donations to help those in need by supplementing the cost of the income-based rates for Sports Backers training teams. So consider making a donation to Keep It Moving so that when you lace up your shoes to take on the Uncorked Half on May 6th your efforts will have a bigger purpose. Run your race so they can run theirs!
Visit www.sportsbackers.org for more information on the Uncorked Half and the Keep It Moving initiative.