RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Calling all runners and soon-to-be runners! It is time to dust off those shoes and grab some water!

Sportsbackers is announcing a new half marathon coming to Richmond. 

Like some runners in the city, you may not be ready for this new half marathon event but that’s ok, because you have plenty of time to get a head start on training!  

The Virginia Credit Union River City Half Marathon kicks off on March 9, 2024.

This is the first time Sportsbackers has partnered with the University of Richmond as a location for an event. 

The course will take runners through nearby neighborhoods that border scenic Riverside Drive and even give runners a view of the James River.

Virginia Credit Union has signed on as the title sponsor of the event.

“Virginia Credit Union is thrilled to be the title sponsor of the River City Half,” said Phil Marine, Vice President of Marketing with Virginia Credit Union. “Our values closely align with Sports Backers, and we are passionate about doing everything we can to promote healthy living through both physical and financial fitness in the community.” 

“The University of Richmond is delighted to partner with Sports Backers to welcome more of our community to enjoy our campus and support their fitness through this half-marathon,” said University of Richmond President Kevin F. Hallock.

The new race is just over 13 miles — and if that seems too daunting there’s always the 5k.  

“Our goal is to inspire active living, and one thing we love about this event is that it is extremely accessible for runners and walkers of all abilities,” said Molly Johnson, event director for Sports Backers. “Whether you walk or run, participate in the 5k or half, you’re guaranteed stunning views of the James River and the chance to discover Richmond beyond downtown.” 

Keira D’Amato is a professional runner. She used to hold the record for best time in the Richmond marathon, but it was recently broken. Now she’s looking forward to getting that honor back. 

“But I think having this race here is just such a good checkpoint for people and a good goal to have of why am I going to get out and run every day” says D’Amato.  

She says there’s no bad time to start your introduction to marathon running. Johnson agrees with her.  

“While the half marathon distance can seem daunting, it is really an option for everybody,” she said. “And because we have so much time now, it’s a great opportunity to lace up those running shoes and get out there and start preparing.”  

The 5k course will lead participants through University Richmond campus and along river road before running out and back on the Huguenot bridge and returning and finishing near the university’s Westhampton Lake. 

The Half course will lead runners through neighborhoods bordering scenic Riverside Drive and along the James River. Runners will venture across the Huguenot Bridge, run Riverside, and then make their way across the Nickel Bridge to the Carillon and through Windsor Farms back to the University of Richmond. 

All participants will receive a technical event shirt and a finisher medal. Half marathon finishers will receive a special finisher item as well. 

“I think the biggest misconception particularly when you get into these longer distance races is that everybody is fast and everybody knows what they are doing they are seasoned runners, pounding the pavement for years and that’s not the case,” said Johnson.  

Registration for the river city half and river city 5k is now open. The half marathon will be capped at 2,000 participants. Click here to register for either race as well as more information about the marathon.