One of my most favorite races of all time is just a week away! Next Saturday, the roads of Lynchburg will be shut down for the 43rd annual Virginia Ten Miler. This will be my 4th year running it, and I’m still just as excited as the first time (although I may complain a little more now). To celebrate, here’s ten reasons to love this race.
1. The on course bands
This year there are 7 (!) bands on course! There’s nothing more exciting than live music when you’re trying to struggle up some of those hills.
2. The guests
This year, Carrie Tollefson is the guest of honor. Past years have included memorable guests as well. The first year I ran it, the guest of honor was Katherine Switzer, and last year Molly Barker joined us. That one was extra special as I was fundraising to run the Marine Corps Marathon as a SoleMate for Girls on the Run.
3. Community support
Not only is most of the course lined with spectators cheering you on, but several community groups volunteer to run aid stations. You can see students from Randolph College passing out water in front of their campus, Liberty University athletes give you high fives as you force your way up a hill, and last year there were a whole bunch of ladies wearing crazy feather boas and fun outfits cheering us on. The whole town really does come together to make this race happen.
4. The Elites
The elite field is very strong at the Ten Miler, with many people coming from outside the country to compete. Since it’s an out and back course, you’ll get to see the front runners after they turn around.
5. Cool Swag
Every year, the shirt and medal gets better. Here’s the designs for the races this year, I can’t wait to see what the medals look like!
6. The History
As I mentioned earlier, the race is in its 43rd year. There is a lot of local history surrounding the journey it’s had since 1974. Bill Draper ran the first 41, and I had the pleasure of seeing him finish his last 2. There are many people who have been running it every year longer than I’ve been alive, something I really respect. You can read the full story in this year’s race guide.
7. The Colorguard
This year I have the privilege to run with the color guard, which was started as a tradition following 9/11. I’ve always admired their perseverance and the way they honor our country and military, and I can’t wait to carry one of the flags this year.
8. Charity Donations
One of the best parts of running the Ten Miler, is how much they give back to the community. More than one charity gets a part of the proceeds. In fact, here’s a list.
9. The Weather
Although it looks like this year may be a hot one, the weather is normally pretty cooperative with temperatures in the high-60s to low-70s on race day. Last year was my favorite so far, we had a rain day that kept us nice and cool (other people may not agree about it being good weather, though).
10. Farm Basket Hill
That right. The hill is a great part of the race, because that’s when the real race starts. It’s the hill that locals love to complain about, but deep down we’re proud of it. You’re almost to the finish when you reach it, and once you make it to the top, you feel like you can conquer the world.