They are 75 years old and have 100 reasons why they love the Monument Avenue 10K

Posted at 3:25 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 23:51:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K is not only one of Richmond's biggest events but also one of the nation’s most popular 10K races ranking the 14th largest race in the United States.

The race's popularity resulted in the run being dubbed “Richmond’s biggest block party.” That’s because it’s not just who crosses the finish line first. Every runner, walker, supporter, and cheerleader has their own personal reason for participating.

In honor of CBS 6’s 75th anniversary, on Saturday, April 22, 2023, the same day as the six-mile event, community anchor GeNienne Samuels caught up with six powerhouses who share the same longevity (75 years young!) and strength as CBS 6, but each has a different as to why they lace up to jog, walk, or run Monument Avenue.

75 year old 10K runners

“It's a blast," Jay Henderson, who first stepped foot in a gym when turned 65, said. "It's the friendliest group and it's like a party!”

While Brad Armstrong, who moved to Richmond from New York when he was five years old, reflected on his time in the Army.

"The thing that touches me the most, I have to say, is when I see folks running and carrying an American flag the entire way," he said. "To see that and the dedication to the country, most of those folks are ex-service people like I am. So that really touches me every time I see it.”

Delight Booker said she enjoyed walking and loved the entertainment along the race route.

“I like seeing the people at the water stations because you always see people you know," she told GeNienne. "You see friends standing out in front of their houses.”

“This race is the only race I've ever done that there is somebody cheering every step of the way," Gywneth Garrett, who didn’t start running until she retired as a school teacher at age 55, said "There are the bands the whole way. It's a fun day with lots of other people.”

All six 75-year-old participants are repeat runners and walkers of the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K. But what kicked off the desire to participate in the first place?

“I started with the Sports Backers' 10K training programs when I started at the YMCA," Bill Kelly, a volunteer track and field coach for Robious Middle School, said.

“I've been running most of my life and I started running 10Ks sometime in the 80s. I just kept it up," Armstrong added. "When the Monument Avenue 10K came, I was one of the original founders of Sports Backers, which created the Monument Avenue 10K.”

Armstrong runs with one of his daughters, Annie or Aaron, every time.

Booker started about 13 years ago, walking for the VCU Massey Cancer, because she is a breast cancer survivor.

“I feel so fortunate to at 75 be excited about walking six miles," she said.

Jay Henderson has another reason for participating.

“I'm pushing a friend of mine's son for a mile or two," Henderson said. "He has Down syndrome and he's a neighbor. I'm honored to be able to participate with him. There's nothing like seeing the crowd cheer when you run by and seeing his face with the grin on it. It's just nothing like it.”

Another participant, Laura Schooley, started running when she was about 58.

Then her good friend, Fran Schinholzer, asked her to walk with her when she turned 85, five years ago.

This year, she’s turning 90 and they are walking together again.

“She's a dynamo. I have trouble keeping up with her," she said.

While they all had different reasons to start, one commonality has kept them going. They all want to feel young and make the most out of their lives today.

“I don't think about age, even though age catches up," Armstrong said. "We know we don't get out of this alive, but I would just like whatever my life is to be as happy, healthy, and productive as possible.”

“It gets people into thinking about living healthier and hopefully you live healthier, you live longer, you'll have a more productive life," Kelly added. "I think it's great for the community. I just like having that opportunity to do it. I'm competitive with myself, and hopefully, I can share that joy with some other folks.”

Click here to check out all the fun that the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K offers.

Maybe you’re not quite ready to get moving but know some kids who are ready.

Bill Kelly also helps to organize the Richmond Road Runners Club FREE running camp. It’s limited to about 120 kids from sixth to rising ninth graders.

The camps are July 12 - 16 and the 19 - 23 in the mornings at Robious Middle School Sports Complex.

While the camp is free, registration is required.

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