Race Recap: Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k
While many runners were focused on the Boston Marathon, another popular though not quite as famous race took place Saturday, April 13 in Richmond, Virginia. The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K was nominated by USA Today and Runner’s World as one of the best races in the country. And unlike the Boston Marathon, the Monument Avenue 10k is open to everyone, but it also serves as the Collegiate 10K Road Race National Championship. This year there were over 25,000 participants, and 2,000 of those were college students. In order to be in the running for the $10,000 prize purse awarded to collegiate athletes, you must be enrolled in at least one college course at the time of the race.
The race, which is in its 5th consecutive year, is basically a giant block party, much like the Bay to Breakers race on the west coast. Many people dress in costume and there is even a Dress Up and Run contest with up to $500 awarded. (You can view amusing photos of this year’s winners on the race website.)
Even if you are not running, there is a Spirit Contest for the most enthusiastic spectators. The Monument Avenue 10K also has a special contest called “Dash For The Cash” where one participant is given a head start and is awarded a cash prize if they cross the finish line before the elites. This year’s lucky runner got a 2.5 mile head start and crossed the finish line first to win $2,500.
On the men’s side, winner of this year’s race was Matthew McDonald, a 24-year-old doctorate student in chemical engineering at Georgia Tech. McDonald, who trains with the Atlanta Track Club, finished the 10K in 30:10. As the first male collegiate runner to finish, he was awarded a $2,000 cash prize. Miles Clikeman, a sophomore at the University of Richmond who placed 9th last year, moved into the second spot this year. He finished 32 seconds after McDonald with a time of 30:42 and claimed the second place $1,000 prize. Third place Ryan Roush was on Clikeman’s tail as he crossed the finish line only four seconds later. The 23-year-old Youngstown State University student won $500 for being the 3rd male collegiate finisher. Cash prizes were awarded to the top 10 male and female collegiate runners. Last year’s winner Ryan Hagen just missed the 10th spot and finished 11th in this particularly competitive field of athletes this year.
The first collegiate female to finish was Bethany Sachtleben in 33:36. Sachtleben, who is sponsored by Saucony, placed 8th at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler just last weekend. Sachtleben, a Virginian native, seems to thrive at races in her backyard. She placed 2nd at the Monument Ave 10K in 2016 and qualified for the 2020 Marathon Olympic Trials at the 2017 Richmond Marathon. A fun fact about this Northern Virginia graduate student is that she has the 3rd fastest female beer mile in the world with a time of 6:21.
The second place female collegiate athlete was Letitia Saayman. She finished nearly two minutes after Sachtleben with a time of 35:23. Saayman, who had a second place finish at the 2017 Richmond Half Marathon, is a student at Campbell University and is originally from South Africa. Rachel Ward, who won the Monument Ave 10K last year with a time of 35:55, came in third this year with a time of 36:02. The 28-year-old graduate student of the University of Virginia has competed in Olympic trial events in 2012 and 2016.
- Matthew McDonald – 24, Atlanta, GA 30:10
- Miles Clikeman – 20, Chesterfield, VA 30:42
- Ryan Roush – 23, Canfield, OH 30:46
- Bethany Sachtleben – 26, Alexandria, VA 33:36
- Letitia Saayman – 25, Buies Creek, NC 35:23
- Rachel Ward – 28, Charlottesville, VA 36:02
Feature Image By Eli Christman from Richmond, VA, USA (2011 Monument Avenue 10k) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons