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Bethany Sachtleben earned $2,000 as last year’s women’s winner of a Collegiate Running Association prize.

Lugbill is cautious about expanding event

The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k will have about 25,000 participants when it celebrates its 20th anniversary on Saturday.

It’s been holding steady near that number in recent years, and Sports Backers executive director Jon Lugbill said any increase would have to be carefully evaluated.

The 10k, which is run by Sports Backers, had a high of about 40,000 participants each year from 2011 to 2013.

“We’ve been at a plateau now for quite a while,” Lugbill said. “I wouldn’t say it wouldn’t ever grow. We ran into problems with parking congestion when we got up to 40,000. We didn’t do a very good job of handling that at the time. So if we were to grow again, we’d really have to handle the parking and congestion issues.”

Lugbill said future changes to the race “are going to be around convenience.”

“We’ve made a ton of changes to make it easier to register,” he said. “We’ve made a ton of changes to make it easier to drive or bike or take a shuttle. We’ve done a ton of things to improve congestion around the race. A lot of those things are subtle and little and the average person running the race doesn’t really notice, but all of those things really add up to a more enjoyable experience.

“We’ll keep coming up and refreshing ways the community can come out and support the event. There’s a ton of opportunity on how we do that in the future.”

CRA honors returning

The race will serve as the Collegiate Running Association’s national championship 10k road race for the sixth consecutive year.

The CRA awards NCAA-sanctioned cash prizes to some of the top male and female finishers who are enrolled in at least one college class.

Alexandria’s Bethany Sachtleben, last year’s women’s winner, earned $2,000. She was finishing classes at Northern Virginia Community College.

Men’s winner Matt McDonald, who was working on his doctorate in chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, also pocketed $2,000.

Race marks a milestone

Sara Graf was recognized in December as the 500,000th person to register for the 10k. Among other things, she was given a lifetime entry into the race. The Henrico resident has run in two other 10ks.

— Tim Pearrell

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