August 7 – November 13, 2021

Celebrating 13 Years of Training!

It turns out one really is the loneliest number… especially when you’re training for a half marathon. So join up with other motivated runners as you embark on a 14-week program that prepares you for the CarMax Richmond Half Marathon, a companion race of the VCU Health Richmond Marathon. Our training teams have an incredible corps of experienced coaches, as well as dedicated SAG support for those long weekend runs, and we even offer informational clinics to keep you up-to-date on the latest in gear, nutrition, injury prevention and more. Did we mention this might be the coolest way to meet people in Richmond? Okay, so we don’t have proof, but we can guarantee you’ll end up with a few more pals than you had before.

Please Note: The Half Marathon Training Team’s format is subject to change due to current COVID-19 mandates and recommendations. As we make decisions, we will be sure to update this page with the latest information.

Here’s what recent participants said
There isn’t one thing I can think of to make this team any better. All of the coaches and SAG folks do an amazing job. I talked my sister in to doing the training this year and within the first couple of weeks she said, “Now I know why you love this so much!” Thanks for another great 14 weeks and race!
– Denise Carroll
This was my second year on the team and I absolutely loved it. I shaved 6:40 off my time! I also had the motivation to get up and run distances I never thought I could because of the training team. It’s such a fabulous experience. I am so thankful that I found this group. It has helped me challenge myself in ways I never thought possible. Thank you for all you do to organize us and keep us motivated!
– Rachel Pryor
I enjoyed every part of the training team and running my first half! The coaches were incredible and the support from other participants was amazing. I had no idea what to expect, and I was truly blown away by the camaraderie. The race itself was spectacular! I felt very prepared and capable. I loved seeing, hearing and being joined by the coaches on the route! Thank you so much for such an incredible experience! I am looking forward to next year!
– Sarah Golightly

Half Marathon Training Team registration includes:

  • 14-week training program starting on Saturday, August 7, or Sunday, August 8 (you choose the day), with a detailed schedule for you to follow
  • Personal guidance from our veteran team of experienced coaches
  • Organized and supported weekly group Saturday or Sunday morning runs
  • Opportunity to earn virtual badges through milestone and challenge completion
  • A special Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team shirt and technical race shirt
  • FREE entry in the 2021 CarMax Richmond Half Marathon and all associated race benefits
  • Special Race Day support from coaches along the course
  • Clinics on subjects like nutrition, running attire, and other related topics

Half Training Team Fees

Through July 20: $140

July 21 – September 5: $155


Register Now

PLEASE NOTE:  Training Team entry fees are non-refundable and entries are non-transferable, no exceptions. Once we receive your entry, you will not receive a refund if you cannot participate

Already signed up for the half marathon and want to participate in the training team? No problem! Just click here on switching-races and follow the prompts. The system will charge you the difference between the training team fee and your half marathon entry fee you’ve paid for the event. Just indicate if you’d like to train with the novice or intermediate group, your typical pace per mile and your most recent 10k time.

Income Based Rate

At Sports Backers, our mission is to inspire people from all corners of our community to live actively. Engaging underserved populations is one of our core values and one way we act on this value is by offering Income Based Rates for all of our training teams. These special rates are offered to those who qualify and would otherwise not be able to participate.

Those who make $25,000 or less annually or receive proven TANF, Food Stamp or Energy Assistance Benefits from Social Services and are not currently claimed as a dependent by anyone making above $25,000 annually are eligible for a special $25 rate for the Half Marathon Training Team  Please provide one of the following documents for verification:

  • Verification/Eligibility letter from Social Services
  • Most Recent Tax Return

For those that qualify for the income-based entry fee, please come by our office or mail the completed entry form and your verification document to Sports Backers, 100 Avenue of Champions, Richmond, VA 23230

For more information, please email [email protected].

Entry Confirmation

Already registered? You can confirm your entry here.

Additional Info

If you can’t find the information you are looking for below, please email the head coach.

COVID-19 Updates

As we near the start of the Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team, we will make modifications and decisions based on current COVID-19 mandates and recommendations to support the health and safety of our runners.

Click here to view the 2020 Half Marathon Training Team Impacts and Procedures.

Important Rules & Notes

  • Once you have registered for the Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team, there will be no refund of entry fees if you are unable to complete the program.
  • Training Team entry fees are non-refundable, no exceptions. Once we receive your entry, you will not receive a refund if you cannot participate or are unable to complete the program.
  • You may defer your 2021 Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team entry to the 2022 Half Marathon Training Team through August 23 for $20. After that date, there will be no more deferrals. Please note that your free entry in the 2021 CarMax Richmond Half Marathon, by itself, may not be deferred to the 2022 event.
  • If you choose to run the Allianz Partners 8k rather than the CarMax Richmond Half Marathon on November 13, you will be allowed to do so for no additional charge.
  • All SAG/water stops are cup-less so you must be prepared with your own hydration device.
  • Strollers/Baby joggers are not permitted at group runs or in the CarMax Richmond Half Marathon.

Head Coach

Cheryl Groce-WrightWe are excited to have back Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team Head Coach, Cheryl Groce-Wright. Cheryl is a long-time Richmond resident moving to the area in 1993 from Philadelphia. She is a native Philadelphian, raised in upstate NY (Binghamton to be exact) from age four.  She is employed in the education and nonprofit fields having worked in executive administration, counseling, program management, and social science research.  She is a proud graduate of SUNY Oswego, Univ of Pennsylvania and VCU.

Cheryl began running later in life after deciding that better fitness and weight loss were important priorities approaching the age of 50. She ran her first Ukrop’s Monument Ave 10K in 2009 having trained with the 10K Training team, and after encouragement from a Half Training Team coach decided to train for and ran her first Richmond Half Marathon in November 2009.  Months later, a bone density test revealed what would become full-blown osteoporosis by the age of 50. Having learned that weight-bearing exercise was the best way to treat and stave off the deterioration of bone density, she became a “runner” and made a commitment that her exercise regimen would always include some type of running.

Cheryl attempted (DNF) her first full marathon in September 2010 and completed a second Half in November 2010 and was hooked on “Halfs” for life.  She acted as an unofficial HMTT coach in 2011 and became an official coach for the 2012 Penguins Half Training Team.  Since then, she has completed four full marathons, over 20 Halfs, and numerous 10K & 5K events, two Sprint Triathlons, and coached every Half training team season since 2012.  She is an energetic/enthusiastic cheerleader, a get-it-done kind of person, and will be everyone’s biggest fan!!! Don’t be surprised to see her around in a T-Rex or numerous Minion regalia.

Cheryl is married to Richard (27+ years) and mom to Nigel and Carson who are both pursuing their educational careers, one at VA Tech, the other at University of Richmond.

Saturday and Sunday Group Runs Offered

You have the option to do your Group Runs on Saturday or Sunday mornings from City Stadium.

Fitness Requirements to be on the Half Marathon Training Team

There is a four-hour time limit to complete the CarMax Richmond Half Marathon, so that requires running a good portion of the 13.1 miles. We do not have a “walking” group for the Training Team. You must be at least 14 years of age to participate. If you are under the age of 16, you must have a parent/guardian registered for training team and present for all training runs.


Please Note: Clinics are subject to change due to current COVID-19 mandates and recommendations.

There will be clinics held on everything from injury prevention to nutrition to shoes. A schedule of these events will be given to registered Half Marathon Training Team members. These clinics will meet virtually until we are safely able to meet in person.

Directions to City Stadium

Weekly Group Training runs take place at:

Richmond City Stadium
3201 Maplewood Avenue
Richmond, VA 23221

  • From the North: Interstate 95 South (exit 79) to 195 South (Downtown Expressway). Follow for 3 miles and take Rosewood Avenue Exit. Turn left on McCloy Street. Stadium is on the right.
  • From the South: Interstate 95 North (exit 74) to 195 North (Downtown Expressway, TOLL road, 50 cents). Take Rosewood Avenue Exit. Turn left on McCloy Street. Stadium is on the right.
  • From the West: Interstate 64 East to Interstate 195 South (Downtown Expressway). Follow for 3 miles and take Rosewood Avenue Exit. Turn left on McCloy Street. Stadium is on the right.
  • From the East: 64 West to 95 South. Take 195 North (Downtown Expressway). Follow for 3 miles and take Rosewood Avenue Exit. Turn left on McCloy Street. Stadium is on the right.