Note: The story below is an excerpt from our sister magazine LifeOutside (Spring 2015). For the full story view their digital edition for FREE today!
The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is back in Roanoke on Saturday, April 18, and is bigger and better than ever this year. This year’s marathon features nearly 7,500 feet of total elevation change, making this one of the most challenging road marathons in the world. The half marathon will once again include a second mountain climb, bumping the elevation change to 3,600 feet, while the Anthem Star 10K challenges runners to climb to the Mill Mountain Star.
But the Blue Ridge Marathon is not just about the races; it is a community event that’s fun for the whole family. From live music, to the family fun zone, to vendors,
and the beer garden, the finish line festivities rival anything happening out on the course.
So, are you up for the challenge of “America’s Toughest Road Marathon, Half Marathon, and Star 10K?”
Check out all the details you’ll need to tackle race weekend.
Schedule & Start Times
The Blue Ridge Marathon is truly a weekend-long event, with activities starting Friday morning and running through the big concert Saturday. On Friday, there will be a Shake Out Run with the marathon’s guest runner Dick Beardsley at 7:30 a.m. followed by the Expo and Packet Pickup at the City Market Building from 3-8 p.m. The pre-race pasta dinner will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. at the City Market Building as well, followed by a free concert by MarchFourth! at the Elmwood Park Amphitheatre at 7 p.m.
Saturday starts early with race-day packet pickup from 5:30-7 a.m. All three races – full marathon, half marathon, and Star 10K – start at 7:35 a.m. on Jefferson Street, just outside of Elmwood Park. Live music will play at Elmwood from 9 a.m. along with the other finish-line activities including the beer garden and food vendors. Awards ceremonies will take place on the Elmwood stage at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m.
The Blue Ridge Marathon officially kicks off on Friday, April 17 at the Race Expo and Pasta Dinner. Packet pickup takes place on Friday at the Expo in the City Market Building, where you can register if you have not done so, pick up last-minute items, browse merchandise from the biggest names in the industry, and mingle with fellow racers. There will also be live music on the street outside the venue.
This year’s pasta dinner will feature two incredible guest speakers to motivate you for the task of taking on “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” The first is famous marathoner and runner Dick Beardsley. Beardsley is a marathon legend, most famous for his epic “Duel in the Sun” at the 1982 Boston Marathon with Alberto Salazar. Also speaking is local runner Pam Rickard, who beat addiction through running and has competed in more than 50 marathons and ultra marathons across the globe.
The Expo and Packet Pickup runs from 3-8 p.m. with the pasta dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the top floor of the City Market Building. Speakers will begin at 7 p.m. with a meet and greet to follow.
Parking & Street Closures
The Blue Ridge Marathon shows runners the best Roanoke has to offer, from the eclectic downtown to the beauty of the Blue Ridge. This gives racers an aesthetic view of the Star City, but it also means that portions of roads will be closed or detoured to accommodate the large field. Sections of roads along the route will be closed during the peak race hours, and Jefferson Street near Elmwood Park will be closed for most of the day beginning at 5:30 a.m.
To view full details on street closures and detours, visit blueridgemarathon.com/road-closures-and-detours.
Parking for racers and spectators on Saturday is available for free in select Roanoke City parking garages.
It’s not too late to volunteer for this year’s Blue Ridge Marathon!
The Blue Ridge Marathon is nothing without its army of volunteers…literally. The race would not be possible if not for the amazing support of so many people in the community. Nearly 500 volunteered last year, and with the race growing every year, at least that many are needed in 2015. Race volunteers ensure a safe, fun event for runners and visitors to the Roanoke region. Every year runners comment on how incredible the volunteer support is for the Blue Ridge Marathon, reflecting that the Roanoke region is a great place to live, work and play. So gather your family members, rally your co-workers, enlist your book club, and register to help make 2015 the best race ever.
For more information on volunteering, visit blueridgemarathon.com/volunteer.