If you've ever raced long distances, then you know the beauty of a course with few hills. A flat terrain gives you a serious shot at running your personal-best time. There is a slight incline at the beginning of the course, but with your adrenaline pumping and the cheers from the crowds, you probably won't give it a second thought.
With the exception of the start and finish, the race is run almost entirely on Monument Avenue. It begins at Broad Street, located in the Fan Historic District. After several blocks, the race makes a left turn onto Monument Avenue. Lined with trees and sporting a wide, grassy median, it is the only street in the United States to be designated a National Historic Landmark [source: City-Data]. You will see a total of six monuments during your run, mostly set in the middle of traffic circles; five of the six pay tribute to leaders of the Confederacy. The monument to Arthur Ashe, humanitarian and tennis star, was the last to be added.
- Robert E. Lee, unveiled 1890
- J.E.B. Stuart, unveiled 1907
- Jefferson Davies, unveiled 1907
- Stonewall Jackson, unveiled 1919
- Matthew Fontaine Maury, unveiled 1929
- Arthur Ashe, unveiled 1996
Be sure to take a look at the mansions as you run along the avenue. They're no less stately than the monuments. Beginning in 1903, the street gave rise to beautiful homes, many inspired by the Beaux Arts style of architecture.
After 3 miles (4.8 kilometers), the course makes a U-turn. You'll head back down Monument Avenue for approximately 2 miles (3.2 kilometers). After running through the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, the race ends on Franklin Street at the entrance to Monroe Park -- Richmond's oldest, built in 1851 [source: Monroe Park]. Once you cross the finish line, you'll be greeted by a postrace festival with free food, beverages and music -- the perfect place to relax after a long run.
On top of a great course and a fabulous atmosphere, there are plenty of other highlights to the Monument Avenue 10K.