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Sports Backers Blog

Sports Backers Kick Off Marathon Training Team on June 6th with Virtual Sessions

Richmond, VA – The Sports Backers Marathon Training Team kicks off on Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7, celebrating its 19th year of preparing participants for the VCU Health Richmond Marathon on November 14. In accordance with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, training sessions will be held virtually through the end of June, with a plan for small groups to meet starting on July 11 and 12 while complying with group size and social distancing regulations.

The Sports Backers Marathon Training Team is a proven 23-week program that has successfully trained over 17,000 people for the VCU Health Richmond Marathon since the team’s inception in 2002. Roughly 30 percent of team participants will be training for their first marathon. The program is led by head coaches Carrie Parker, Jake Wiseman, and Kevin Burcham, who all have prior experience with the Marathon Training Team and are eager to provide motivation and guidance in a supportive setting to help participants achieve their goal of completing 26.2 miles.

The Marathon Training Team registration fee of $165 includes a free entry in the VCU Health Richmond Marathon, along with a Marathon Training Team shirt, a technical race shirt, a guide book, clinics, and organized weekly runs with experienced coaches. To supplement the virtual training sessions, additional perks have also been added for participants, including detailed how-to videos, fitness and post-run recovery videos, and a ‘care package’ of training, hydration, and nutrition items mailed to each participant. Additional registration options and safety measures have also been taken with COVID-19 guidelines in mind, and they include the following:

  • Available deferral of your 2020 Sports Backers Marathon Training Team entry to the 2021 Marathon Training Team through September 1 at no cost
  • Extended registration to September 1 and elimination of price increases, keeping the price at $165 for the remainder of the registration period.
  • No large group meetings; participants will be divided into smaller sub-teams
  • Staggered group run start times and multiple start locations, with a plan to begin in-person training July 11/12
  • Limited SAG support – we encourage participants to always bring their own hydration and nutrition
  • Further alternatives, modifications, and new approaches possible based on future guidelines to guarantee health and safety of runners
  • Virtual check ins from your coaches

“We’re excited to kick off another season of our Marathon Training Team and have engaged in a lot of detailed discussions with our staff and coaches to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for participants,” said Megan Schultz, race director of the VCU Health Richmond Marathon. “The Marathon Training Team will look different this year with the changes in place but the goals remain the same: create a supportive community and provide guidance to help prepare participants to meet the challenge of completing the VCU Health Richmond Marathon on November 14.”

Income-Based Rates Available for Training Team Participation

The mission of Sports Backers is to inspire people from all corners of our community to live actively. Engaging underserved populations is one of our core values and one way we act on this value is by offering Income Based Rates for all of our training teams. These special rates are offered to those who qualify and would otherwise not be able to participate.

Those who make $25,000 or less annually or receive proven TANF, Food Stamp or Energy Assistance Benefits from Social Services and are not currently claimed as a dependent by anyone making above $25,000 annually are eligible for a special $30 rate for the Marathon Training Team. Please provide one of the following documents for verification:

  • Verification/Eligibility letter from Social Services
  • Most Recent Tax Return

Income-based entry can be obtained by contacting [email protected] and requesting the registration forms.

Runners have the option to participate in group runs on either Saturday or Sunday mornings. The 43rd running of the VCU Health Richmond Marathon is scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 14. It is preceded by the Allianz Partners 8k and the Richmond Half Marathon. Online registration for all three events is available at