Continuing my four-year race streak, I am running in the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke this April (Saturday, April 21, 2018 to be exact). Billed as America’s Toughest Road Marathon, the race covers over 7,400 feet in elevation change. This means not only does a runner manage the uphills of Roanoke Mountain, Mill Mountain (Home of the Roanoke Star), and Peakwood, but also the downhills associated with them.
Why Blue Ridge Marathon?
Outside of bragging rights of running the toughest marathon, the race benefits the local area. The Blue Ridge Marathon series was created as a non-profit known as Roanoke Outside Foundation. As a 501(c)3, their mission is to make outdoor activity and environmental stewardship a core component of our community’s lifestyle by promoting a “conservation through recreation” philosophy. In addition, regional charities help host the races. As a result, the race series has been able to donate $35,000 last year and over $135,000 since 2010 to these groups.
I am not ready for a marathon, yet.
At the same start time, a 10K, half marathon, and the second marathon leg of the double marathon (already sold out!) will start with marathon participants. Or if you want gather some friends, you can run the marathon as a team relay. Or there is a family mile run that leaves after the other runners. Whatever you decide, you will experience similar course segments.
The 10K runs up Mill Mountain, which rewards you with great views from the Roanoke Star of Roanoke. The Half Marathon follows the same course with a turn off to head toward Peakwood for a second mountain.
Is there anything to before or after the race?
On the Friday before the race, there is a free concert for the Ballast Point Down by Downtown. The music festival runs concurrently of the marathon weekend. On Saturday, a ticketed concert happens that night, which is a great recovery from the race. In addition, Saturday is the Farmers Market on Market Street, Roanoke has a great food scene, and growing craft beer scene with a Deschutes Brewing tap room blocks from the start and finish line and Ballast Point taproom in Daleville.
In addition to a fan of the Blue Ridge race series, I am also a Race Ambassador. Have questions and in the Raleigh-Durham area? I’ll be at a few run clubs this week to talk about this Spring’s race. I’ve ran the 10K, half marathon, and full marathon (the full was my first full ever!) I’ll be glad to share stories, places to eat, and places to stay.
Tuesday, 23rd: Bond Brothers Run Club in Cary
Wednesday, 24th: House of Hops Run Club in Raleigh
Sunday, 28th: Big Boss Run Club in Raleigh
Hope to see you there!
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