The Anthem Richmond Marathon began in 1978 as the Richmond Newspapers Marathon. Following the 20th running in 1997, the event was taken over by the Sports Backers, Richmond's 501(c)(3) non-profit sports commission.
What is the Sports Backers?
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The Sports Backers own, manage or partner with 40 different sporting events in the Richmond region that draw nearly 328,000 attendees and help drive over $50 million in economic impact. These events and programs strengthen the local economy, provide health benefits to participants and make the region a better place to live.
The Sports Backers organize some of the top events in the country. With a total of over 40,000 participants, the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by MARTIN’S is the 4th largest 10k in the nation and the Anthem Richmond Marathon is the 27th largest marathon. The American Family Fitness Half Marathon is the 49th largest half marathon in the country and the HCA Virginia 8k is the 12th largest 8k.
Sports Backers owned events:
- Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by MARTIN’S
- Anthem Richmond Marathon, American Family Fitness Half Marathon, & HCA Virginia 8k
- Dominion Riverrock
- Times-Dispatch Go! Discover Richmond
- Connects Federal Credit Union Corporate 4-Miler
- WhatIfCreditUnions.com Dragon Boat Festival
- Anthem Moonlight Ride
- Henricus Dauber Dash
- Cougar 7 v 7 Field Hockey Tournament
- Patrick Henry Half Marathon
- Maymont X-Country Festival
Among the organization’s other major programs are:
- Indoor Sports Tournament Center – The Sports Backers purchased $500,000 of portable sports flooring and related equipment to convert the Greater Richmond Convention Center into a sports tournament center.
- Bid On Events – The Sports Backers have bid on and successfully landed several events that have come to the region including the 2011 and 2012 USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournament, the 2010 VHSL AAA State Outdoor Track and Field Championships, 2008 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, the 2008 USATF Men’s 10k National Championships, the 2008-2010 Duathlon National Championships, the 2008-2012 CAA Basketball Tournament.
- Sports Tourism Marketing Grants—The Sports Backers are providing grants for a total of $25,000 to area sports organizations to help expand the marketing of existing sports tourism events in our community.
The Sports Backers were named best sports commission in the country by the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) both in 2006 and 2009. Sports Backers is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization founded in October 1991 to build a more vibrant community through sports.
In addition to growing sports tourism, the organization manages the Times-Dispatch/Sports Backers Scholarship program that annually provides $64,000 in college scholarships to area student athletes. Scholarships of $544,000 have been awarded to 355 student-athletes over the life of the program to date. The Sports Backers last year helped motivate more than 8,600 area youth to be more active on a regular basis through our Fit For Life youth running program.
Unique to any other sports commission across the country, the Sports Backers have a facility named after us. On August 24, 1999, Sports Backers Stadium officially opened its gates for the Grand Opening Celebration. The result of a collaborative effort between the Sports Backers, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Union University and the City of Richmond, the stadium is the finest of its kind in the state of Virginia.