Virginia is set to have a gold medal year with significant sporting events like the Union Cycliste Internationale Road World Championships and the World Police and Fire Games, but those aren’t all! This list of events will be fun for athletes and spectators.
— UNION CYCLISTE INTERNATIONALE ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS —
For nine days beginning September 19, the world’s best road cyclists will converge on the Richmond region to compete in the UCI Road World Championships, an event that will be covered by more than 500 media outlets and broadcast live to more than 300 million people. Why watch from afar when you can stand along the course and experience it for yourself?
- ~1,000 athletes competing for ~75 countries (like the Olympic Games)
- Features many of the same athletes that compete in The Tour de France
- Three disciplines: Road Race, Individual Time Trial, Team Time Trial
- The longest race is 160 miles – the Men’s Elite Road Race (course map)
- Spectator events include concerts, festivals, and expos
- This is the first time the UCI Road World Championships have been held in the United States since 1986.
— WORLD POLICE AND FIRE GAMES —
The World Police and Fire Games is an international event comprised of more than 65 competitive sports. Expect 12,000 police officers, firefighters, customs and corrections officers from 70 countries to compete from June 26 to July 5 in 66 venues across Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. The events will be fantastic for spectators and probably tons of fun for the athletes.
- Sports include angling, basketball, boxing, darts, ice hockey, motorcross, pistol combat, rugby, swimming, tug-of-war, and ultimate fighter
— BLUE RIDGE MARATHON —
America’s Toughest Road Marathon™ is on pace for an April 18 start date in Roanoke. That is the Blue Ridge Marathon, one of The Weather Channel’s 15 Toughest Marathons and among those with gorgeous scenery, according to Condé Nast Traveler. As WSLS news anchor John Carlin put it, “it’s like running through a postcard.”
- 7,430 feet of total elevation change in the marathon (course map)
- 3,600 feet change in the half (course map)
- 1,800 feet change in the 10K (course map)
- Bonus – Score the Roanoke Triple Crown when you also run the Race 13.1 Half Marathon on March 1 and the Star City Half Marathon on November 21!
— SHENANDOAH TWILIGHT STREET SPRINT —
Fast on two wheels? An engine does’t count, by the way … If you said “yes,” then maybe the Shenandoah Twilight Street Sprint is for you. Positioned mano y mano, cyclists will tear through the Town of Shenandoah on April 24 in a series of heat races which bracket down to a champion. The Street Sprint is a kick-off to the Tour of Page County the following day, but is a free, stand-alone event in which non-tour cyclists can participate. Accelerate much? Then sign up! Just want to watch? Oh, you should. A sprint sounds tricky and you might see a wipe-out.
— MASSANUTTEN YEE-HA! —
Downhill biking sounds easy-peasy, no? Apparently it requires much skill and Massanutten Resort is one of eight incredible venues the Gravity East Series has chosen to race. The event name is super fun — it’s the Massanutten YEE-HA!, and it’s April 25 and 26. By the way, this course also hosted round five of the 1997 Union Cycliste Internationale Grundig World Cup, so it’s no joke.
— COLONIAL 200 RELAY —
Play pass-the-baton with your friends this May 1 and 2 when the Colonial 200 Relay takes off from Charlottesville bound for Williamsburg. That’s right, a 200-mile relay race. On foot. Whew. The good news is there’s a beach at the end as the finish line will be located at Jamestown Beach Park. Register Now
— URBANNA CUP COCKTAIL CLASS WOODEN BOAT RACES —
Pinewood Derby was just conquered at my house, which now makes the idea of building a boat not so far fetched. Watching these boats may be far more fun than trying to build one before May, however. The Urbanna Cup Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Races will launch off from Town Marina on May 16. See these six- to eight-horsepower diddies launch in what is a very family-friendly sport with varying weight classes.
— THE VARMINT HALF MARATHON & 5K —
They call it “God’s Thumbprint,” and from the air, Burkes Garden sure does look like a thumbprint in the earth. This rural circular valley with one road in and out is hosting their 22nd annual The Varmint Half Marathon & 5K on June 13. Eric Thiessen describes the scenery as “one of those increasingly rare places where the beauty of the countryside is simple and still pure. There are no restaurants and no stores in Burkes Garden. There are also no neon or electric signs, no flashy or tacky homes, and no unnecessary distubances to the pastoral countryside. It’s easy on the eyes. It’s just a great place to sit back and relax-especially after 13.1 miles.”
— DOMINION RIVERROCK —
The largest outdoor sports and music festival in the nation can be found in Richmond, and it’s called Dominion Riverrock. Held May 15 to 17, spectators and athletes can choose to watch or compete in events from paddleboarding and slacklining to kayaking and bouldering, all on the James River. Eleven bands will keep the energy high, and outfitters will be on hand if you’d like to try one of the sports yourself.
— MCDONALD’S NORTH AMERICAN SAND SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS —
Ten thousand soccer players will converge on Virginia Beach June 5-7 for the largest beach/sand soccer festival in the world, the McDonald’s North American Sand Soccer Championship. Sixty sand fields will spread across one and one-half miles of oceanfront to accommodate the 1,000 pro/am teams. The Boardwalk serves as a fantastic vantage point.
Which of these are you most looking forward to, or is there something else big on your radar for 2015? Leave a comment!