The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden hosted the Richmond Road Runners Club’s 40th Annual Frostbite 15k on Sunday, and participants were able to jog through the garden as part of the course this year.
“A lot of racing takes place in Richmond, so we wanted to bring something to Henrico,” said Chris Mason, associate race director. “There’s no better place than Lewis Ginter at Lakeside. So we’d like to have a race here to show some love to different parts of Henrico.
The botanical garden was considered a host for the race because it had parking for about 800 participants and volunteers, said Mara George, co-race director.
“We started with the parking lot and went from there,” George said. “We knew they had great roads here and we knew we could get to Bryan Park if we had to on a non-rainy day and we wanted to be close to our presenting sponsor, Final Gravity.”
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The ability for runners to go through the park as part of the course created a lot of positive feedback for Mason and George, especially since they were not expecting permission to run the course through the park.
“We didn’t think we’d be able to run across the park, but that was the first thing they said when we came to them with this idea,” George said. “They would say, ‘Do you want to run in the park?’
While it was planned to be a real 15km run, rain that fell throughout Saturday night and into early Sunday washed out part of the course that was initially laid. The race distance was shortened to just over 9km in the end, according to Mason.
“It was supposed to be 15 kilometers, but Mother Nature had a different plan. So we shortened it,” Mason said.
Despite the cold and rainy weather, all the contestants were cheerful, with couple Nigel and Becky Harris feeling particularly comfortable.
“We’re from England, just outside of London,” Becky said. “We had a very English day here and felt at home.”
“We wanted this to be a unique Richmond race, right?” Mason said. “I mean they’re known nationally for their botanical gardens, right? Oh my gosh, to be able to get to Louis Ginter and tie in the ZZQ and the (Gravity) final, it feels like this happened in Richmond. That’s what it’s about.”