Angels Race Virginia – The Beginning
The Angels Race began in 2003 with about 80 participants. A majority of whom had “Brittany” written on their arm as they raced in honor of Brittany Groover who had died in an automobile accident in November of 2002. The race quickly became an early season favorite for triathletes from across the state of Virginia and beyond. The event is both highly competitive and enjoyable for novice and first time athletes. The Saturday night race Expo during packet pickup is said to be the best “mid-size event” race expo in the southeast.
This race starts at the downtown YMCA in Lynchburg with a 300m pool swim. The 25k bike course travels through downtown Lynchburg, across the James River and into Amherst County on a rolling out and back ride along River Road. The climb from the river back to the YMCA is challenging! The 5k run takes athletes down Main Street, past Amazement Square and onto the scenic Blackwater Creek Trail. This out and back course finishes at the Community Market on Main Street. You will be cheered on from the time you enter the pool until you cross the finish line by hundreds of volunteers and enthusiastic spectators. This event is part of the Virginia Triathlon Series. The race is USA Triathlon Sanctioned and we recommend that all participants become familiar with USA Triathlon Rules. There will be draft marshals/USAT officials on site race day.
A ‘bittersweet’ end to Lynchburg’s Angels Race Triathlon
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015 2:47 pm
Bells, clackers and warm words of encouragement on a cold, overcast morning kicked off the last Angels Race Triathlon in Lynchburg on Sunday.
The race, drawing to a close after a 13-year run, went out on a high note with 405 racers converging on downtown.
“It’s bittersweet,” David Broman said of the event’s final year. “Part of me says it should be the last year. Part of me says we should do it forever.”
Broman, of Pennsylvania, created the Angels Race with family and friends to honor the memory of his niece, Brittany Groover, a Jefferson Forest High School student and athlete who died in a car crash in 2002.
The event started out as a way for the family to channel its grief, but grew into a beloved race where hundreds of athletes pay tribute to their lost loved ones.
“The race always has a special meaning to it,” said Parker Spencer, 25, who was the first to cross the finish line Sunday.
Spencer, who raced in memory of his grandmother, said often when training it’s easy to become fixated on yourself and your time and performance.
“It’s really cool to be able to do a race where you think of somebody else the whole time,” he said.
The race remains very much a family affair with Brittany’s parents, Tim and Beth Groover, among its chief organizers along with Broman, his brother Geb Broman and family friend Mick Gunter.
The families agreed this year was the right time to close out the triathlon.
“It’s been a great 13 years. It really has,” said Tim Groover, adding he must have been approached by 20 strangers Sunday thanking the family for putting on the race.
“We really thank them, because it wouldn’t have been possible without them being a part of it,” he said. “… It’s been great to see people enjoy it and embrace it. That’s the part we’ll really miss; all the folks who love and find joy in the race.”
“We’ll miss all of it. But again, it’s the right time.”
The Angels Race course, which athletes tackled at staggered start times, began at the YMCA pool, advanced to a 25K bike ride and finished with a 5K run that ended at the Community Market, where racers were greeted by volunteers waving celebratory plastic clackers.
David Broman kneeled down at the edge of the pool and talked with every swimmer about whom they were racing for. The answers ran the gamut from a parent to a friend to a family pet. One long-time regular joined the triathlon after losing his son, Broman said.
“He’d get in the pool, and we’d cry and hug,” Broman said. “This race has helped a lot of people … I can’t put into words how much it has helped us to do it.”
When the 13th and final Angels Race came to an end, the organizing families gathered together at the finish line for a photo.
Hanging nearby were large banners that racers had signed over the years and scrawled with messages for their loved ones.
This year’s banner was already filling up fast. But one message, penned in red marker, stood out in the corner.
“Brittany,” it read. “We/You did it! I love you so! Dad.”
Contact Alicia Petska at (434) 385-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @AliciaPetska
Autumn Parry/The News & Advance
Parker Spencer finishes first place in the last Angels Race.
The race ended with a 5k uphill run.
Jerome Loy prepares for the final Angels Race.
The race included a 25K bike ride.
Laura Brooks and her daughter Sophie Brooks prepare to cross the finish line.
Alex Hoke and Audrey Cannon cheer on JMU's Triathlon Club.
“This race has helped a lot of people … I can’t put into words how much it has helped us to do it.”
2015 Angels Race Results
MEN’S TOP THREE
1st Parker Spencer of Richmond (1h, 03m, 02s)
2nd Joseph Anderson of Lynchburg (1h, 07m, 19s)
3rd Angello Rodriguez of Alexandria (1h, 10m, 23s)
WOMEN’S TOP THREE
1st Renee Kunnen of Richmond (1h, 15m, 51s)
2nd Doracy Harrison of Raleigh (1h, 18m, 08s)
3rd Sarah Davidson of Lynchburg (1h, 19m, 23s)
To see a full list of results for the 2015 Angels Race Triathlon, visit www.vtsmts.com/2015-race-results and scroll down to Angels Race.
Thu, May 7, 2015
Dear Mick Gunter and associates,
Upon hearing the 2015 race was the last Angels triathlon race to be held, the James Madison Triathlon Team wanted to formally commemorate how much this race has meant to us. Currently, the JMU Tri Club has six members on its Executive Board, all of who have completed the Angels race during their first season racing with the team. However, our club ties with this race stretch longer than our enrollment at JMU. The impact our years of involvement had on the team displayed itself this past weekend when a 2007 graduate of JMU approached the team and told us he participated in the Angels Tri when he was a member of the club.
It’s hard to put into words what this race means to each and every one of us but there’s a reason we keep coming back. Read More
Final Angels Race triathalon to be held Sunday
Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 7:28 pm
One by one, Tim Groover flips through some of the hundreds of photographs he’s taken over the last 12 years. There is a photo of the sorority that swam, biked and ran in memory of their sister who died in a tsunami, one of the pastor who ran in memory of two murdered Virginia Tech students, and several of the father who ran alongside the young man whose life was saved by his daughter’s organ donation.
This is it!
After considerable thought, prayer and soul searching, we have decided that April 26, 2015 will be the final Angels Race. When the race was started, we had no idea it would be so successful and such a blessing to so many. We also had no plan for how long we would put on the race. The Angels Race is very much a family run event and it is not something we see passing along to others. Our families have evolved to a place where we are now ready to end this amazing journey on a high note. We are thankful for all of the blessings this race has brought to us and to the countless people who have been part of the twenty races we have produced in NC & VA since 2003.
The 2015 Triathlon is April 26th 2015
The race limited to the first 400 entries.
This will be the 13th Annual event, same great courses, volunteers and logistics crew you are used to seeing. We hope to see you in April!
Top 3 Overall (M & F), Top 3 Masters (M & F), Top 3 age groups (M & F) (14 & under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+).
Top 3 Clydesdales (men 200lb+) and top 3 Athena (women 150lb+)
Top 3 college teams (cumulative time top 5 participants), top 3 high school relays, and top 3 relays
The College Challenge is a special part of this race, drawing college clubs from across Virginia and the Carolinas. Will 2013 be another showdown between VaTech and JMU, or will a new champion be crowned?
Saturday, April 25, Noon – 4:30 p.m., Amazement Square, 27 9th Street, Lynchburg VA
Packets can also be picked up on race day, Sunday, April 26, 6am – 7a.m. at the Race Site, Outside of the Transition Area.
The host hotel is the Holiday Inn Select, Lynchburg just blocks away from the transition area. Call the hotel to make your reservation. There are a limited number of rooms reserved, so make your reservations early. Race weekend package includes late checkout so you can leave your car at the hotel, and return to shower after the race before heading home! Phone: 434-528-2500
Angels Race Virginia 2014
Thanks to all who came out to race on April 27th in the 12th Annual Angels Race in downtown Lyncburgh VA!
The overall winner was Joseph Anderson of Lynchburg, VA with a time of 1 hour 1 minute 39 seconds. The first overall Female was Renee Kunnen of Richmond, VA with a time of 1 hour 13 minutes and 12 seconds. Over 400 athletes participated on a beautiful spring day in Lynchburg honoring their angels. We look forward to setting the date for the 2015 Angels Race later this summer.
News: ‘Angels Race’ Draws Hundreds
April 27, 2014
By Katie Brooke, WSET-TV
Lynchburg, VA – Hundreds of people shut down the streets of downtown Lynchburg Saturday morning as they took part in the “Angels Race” triathlon. READ MORE
Angels Race Virginia 2013
Parker Spencer took the overall honors with a time of 1:03:19. The top Female was Cheryl McMurray in a time of 1:16:16. Va Tech, JMU and Liberty all had strong showings with their college teams. Hundreds of arms were marked with names of angels. A beautiful cloudless day contributed to the festive atmosphere. A new division, assisted athletes was a highlight – Jenna Trebour assisted by her mother Beth, and Leslie Hogland assisted her daughter Jasmine through the race. Jenna’s Angels Race story is detailed in the WSET-TV article below.
News: Mothers Race With Angels in Lynchburg Triathlon
April 14, 2013
By Claudia Rucich, WSET-TV
Lynchburg, VA – Hundreds of people came out to downtown Lynchburg Sunday for the 11th Annual Angels Race….
“My angel is my daughter,” said Beth Trebour.
Trebour pulled and pushed her 17-year-old daughter Jenna through the race.
To me, there’s not another race with such a “feel good” atmosphere. Thanks to you and all of the staff and volunteers who put forth 110% effort into staging a great race. I’m glad I got to be a part of it!
10th Annual Angels Race Virginia 2012
Thank you to the athletes, spectators and volunteers who came out on Sunday to celebrate the 10th Annual Angels Race in Lynchburg. Danny Gibney of Gaithersburg, MD took the overall win with a time of 1:05:08, and Renee Kunnen from Richmond took the overall Women’s victory in 1:14:42.
JMU Took the College Cup this year with 44 participants and top spots in several categories. VaTech was quick to mention that many of their teammates were at College Nationals – and will challenge for the cup next year!
News: Hundreds Participate in Angels Race
April 22, 2012
By Parker Slaybaugh, WSET-TV
Lynchburg, VA- Sunday’s weather didn’t stop nearly 400 athletes from participating in this year’s Angels Race in downtown Lynchburg.
In its ten year history, triathlon organizers have given more than $200,000 away in grants and scholarships. The event had more than 100 volunteers, and organizers say the race would not be possible without them.
Many runners ran with the name of a loved one, or their “angel” written on their arm.
“The stories, the lives that have been touched, that’s why we come out here and do this every race, every year to give people the experience of coming out and doing this race and healing from their losses,” said Mick Gunter, race director.
WSET’s very own Danner Evans even took part. She ran the last leg of the race for her relay team.
News: Annual Angels Race Helps Heal Pain
April 04, 2012
By Danner Evans, WSET-TV
Lynchburg, VA – It’s hard to know what to do with the grief when you lose a loved one. How do you move past the mourning? One Forest family lost their oldest daughter and they turned their tears into a race in her honor. READ MORE
Angels Race Virginia 2011
Thanks to all who came out to swim, bike run, volunteer and cheer as a full field took on the Angels race course in Lynchburg May 1st. Grayson Cobb set a new Men’s course record with a blistering time of 1:00:43. Renee Kunnen bested the women’s field at 1:11:41. Virginia Tech took top honors in the College Challenge led by Cobb. We look forward to a great 10th event in 2012!
Angels Race Virginia 2010
We cannot thank all of the volunteers and athletes enough for making this Angels Race a success! There are always new experiences, new stories, and faces with new hope on them! We are blessed to be touched by each of you in some way. We love to hear feedback so that we can continuously improve! Hope to see you all in 2011 – we’ll set the date soon! –Beth and Tim Groover
Angels Race Virginia 2010 Success! Thank you to everyone who came out for the VA Angels Race on April 25th. The weather cooperated and a huge crowd of spectators and 100+ volunteers supported over 400 athletes who swam, biked and ran for their angels. Check out the news coverage below! The overall men’s winner was Marcus Wright of Lynchburg, VA with a time of 1 hour 4 minutes, 11 seconds The first place female was Cheryl McMurray of Fairfax, VA with a time of 1 hour 14 minutes 51 seconds Complete race results can be found at Setup Events.
Special Thanks to Bikes Unlimited and Riverside Runners for their outstanding support of the race this weekend. Share your angels race experience and feedback on Facebook. See more Race Day Photos at TriDuo. –Mick Gunter
Angels Race 2009
A full field of 400+ raced in Lynchburg VA on 4/26 – Over 200 volunteers in red t-shirts cheered on Every participant from the Male winner Ryan Hyslop (1:02:51) and Female Winner Julie Hyslop (1:15:15) to Sondra Pinn who was the last participant to cross the finish line to the cheers of over 1,000 spectators.
Special Thanks to the individuals group’s out honoring their angels – the spirit of honoring angels, and working through grief through sports is what this race is all about.
Dick Kelley will Participate Again
The Angels Race has always had an important place in Kick Kelley’s heart. And although he’s now battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, Dick Kelley will participate in the triathlon again.
Kelley did six triathlons last year and now he’s in a wheelchair, but Dick Kelley will still be there, swimming a lap to start the race. His uplifting spirit is sure to get many people across the finish line Sunday.
His greatest race. The Roanoke Times. Sunday, March 22, 2009
This was by far the most fun I have ever had in any race! I truly appreciated the attention to details, particularly for our angels.
Angels Race Virginia 2008
News: Determination to Serve
April 13, 2008, WSLS10 Reporter
The runners at the Angels Race in Lynchburg were cheered on as they reached the finish line. Many of these participants were running to honor their lost loved ones. But one man seemed to stand out from all the rest. Major David Rozelle got even louder cheers as he made his way to the end of the race, running with a prosthetic right leg. But running this triathlon isn’t his biggest accomplishment. In fact, it was his determination to serve our country that helped him make American history.
“As the first amputee to return to active command in Iraq since the Civil War, so a great honor, to the same battlefield, you know. A great honor and went back last month on another mission,” said Major Rozelle. READ MORE
News: Memories of Loved Ones Spur Triathlon Participants 2008
By Ted Allen
The News & Advance, April 13, 2008
Former Jefferson Forest swimmer Linde Groover, now a first-year student at Virginia, completed her first Angels Race Triathlon in memory of older sister Brittany Groover on Sunday.
“I started running a lot in college, but the first time I’ve gotten on a bike in 10 years was last night in my neighborhood,” said Linde, who had twice before swum the opening leg of the sprint triathlon as part of a relay team.
She only got through the cycling stage of the race with support from volunteers, many of whom she knew as former teachers, family friends or members of her church. READ MORE
I thank you so much for allowing my girls to participate. They enjoyed the experience so much. I have 2 of them already talking about how they want to do one by themselves in the spring and the other wants to keep being part of relay teams. I know this is due in large part to how well this race was run.
Angels Race Virginia 2007
News: Race For A Reason
April 16, 2007
By Ted Allen Lynchburg News & Advance
More than 400 swimmers, cyclists and runners braved wet and cold conditions to take part in Sunday’s fifth annual Angels Race Triathlon, starting from Lynchburg’s Downtown YMCA. READ MORE.
Angels Race Virginia 2005
News: 2005 Triathlon Honors “Angels”
Fall 2005 Virginia Tech Magazine
When 15-year-old Brittany Groover was killed in a car accident in late 2002, her father, Tim Groover (civil engineering ’79, M.S. ’80), sought the comfort of family and friends.
Particularly significant was a gathering with family members Geb and David Broman and family friend Mick Gunter, whose mother, Karla Bolen, had also died in a car accident. “Geb, David, and Mick were talking about how devastating Brittany’s loss was,” explains Groover. “Compounding this was Mick’s realization that he had never felt a sense of healing after his mother’s death. The three of them realized that there must be lots of people feeling similar pain and they wondered what they could do to help our small group heal, as well as give others an opportunity to honor their lost loved ones.” READ MORE
Angels Race Virginia 2004
News: Plenty Turn Out For Triathlon
The News & Advance, 2004
Runners, swimmers and cyclists of all ages and abilities from as far north as New Jersey, as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Texas and Colorado flocked to Lynchburg on Sunday for the second-annual Angels Race Triathlon, starting at Downtown YMCA.
Proceeds from the race go toward the Brittany Groover Memorial Fund, which provides college scholarship money for students, and the Karla Bolen Memorial Funds, which gives grants to schools, including one to Forest Elementary this year. READ MORE