The Monument Avenue 10K is more than just a race - it's a HUGE event for the entire Richmond community. It seems like everyone in the Richmond area is there either running, walking, or cheering someone on. Even people who don't run or walk often sign up for the 10K, and it gets them out training, and then they become fit and want to run or walk more. (It's kind of a gateway drug for runners in that respect.)
Although I'm not a big fan of crowds, and this is a HUGE race (30,000 people), I love the Monument Avenue 10K. The energy is amazing - the music, the crowds of people cheering, the bizarre and entertaining costumes. And then there's the reason we're running, to raise money for the Massey Cancer Center. Many run in honor of or in memory of loved ones, which gives the race special meaning. Last year they had photos of cancer survivors along the course.
The course is relatively flat and very scenic, running past historic homes and statues, but the best part about it is the enthusiastic cheering section lining the course. It's easy to feed off all that energy and run faster than you realize! It's a great course to PR if the crowds don't hold you back.
Sportsbackers does an excellent job of managing the crowds at the start, dividing people into 20 seeded waves (requiring proof of qualification) and 17 nonseeded waves, and having a starting corral for each wave. The finish area can be a bit of a mob scene, but that's to be expected when you have a race of that size. It can be difficult to find people in the crowd, so it's good to have a cell phone with you or arrange a meeting place beforehand.
Getting around Richmond the morning of the race can be challenging, and you're better off parking some distance from the start and walking.
Last year was the first year they provided a medal, something I hope they'll continue. You get a cotton t-shirt but can get a technical t-shirt if you pay extra. I paid for the technical t-shirt, which is a Brooks shirt, so very good quality.