- 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race, Relay, Other
- Road Race
- Event Website
Looking for a race that is challenging AND scenic - you've found it! And yes, you read the title of my review correctly - this race offers a DOUBLE marathon option. This is the option that I chose to attempt this year. Although I was only able to make it 33.5 of the 52.4 I set out to complete, I'm still very pleased with my effort and happy to say I'll likely return to Roanoke again in the future. WHY?
COMMUNICATION (pre-race/race weekend): The organizers do not beat around the bush in any of their pre-race communication - this race will be tough, but you can do it! The BRM Facebook / Twitter / Instagram accounts were always up to date and informative as well.
EVENT APP: I used it to track fellow BibRave Pros and other friends who were running. It was much less buggy than the version I used in 2019 and is again an app platform that is very reminiscent of what other marathons use. The fact that they offer an app with race info and tracking is definitely a plus!
RACE WEATHER: We could not have asked for better weather. Overcast, cool, and comfortable
EXPO: The expo took place outside in a park very close to where the races finish. It had almost a farmer's market feel as participants moved from tent to tent, checking out new gear and picking up their race shirts/bibs. The check-in process was also incredibly FAST! I think I was in and out of that particular area in less than 2 minutes. Get in, get stuff, move on!
LODGING/PARKING: This time around, I opted snag a room at a hotel that was less than a 5 minute walk to the start line, which means I didn't have to move the car at all! Even if I had to drive to the start area, there did seem to be ample surface street/lot parking to satisfy the number of attendees.
COURSE: Let's be honest - the elevation chart doesn't do this race enough justice. THIS COURSE IS HARD. You're climbing (read: most likely walking) up the first of three mountains - which just happens to be the LARGEST of the three - within a mile of the start. I overheard tons of people give the same advice in the starting area: walk the uphills and conserve energy early for the climbs later in the race. Once at the top, the views are absolutely stunning. But don't be fooled - what goes up must come back down and the downhill sections are just as challenging as their uphill relatives. If you're signing up for a future Blue Ridge Marathon, my advice would be to almost exclusively train on hills. Flat ground workouts are nice, but hills will be what gets you to the finish in Roanoke!
MEDAL: This year's medal was a simple circular, monochrome BLUE medal for the full marathon. The medal for the DOUBLE marathon was a much darker monochrome blue and in the shape of a belt buckle - very reminiscent of medals awarded at trail ultra-marathons.
OTHER SWAG: The best "swag" worth noting are the FREE race photos. Within a few days of the race, I got an email saying my photos were ready to review. With the exception of a few (trust me, we all have THOSE pictures), they really turned out very nice! Another piece of swag that was amazing was the coffee mug provided to participants of the SLOW-K (5k) on Sunday morning along with coffee and donuts (and mimosas for $, if that's your jam...and it was mine for sure!).
SUPPORT: Such a great race for support. The Roanoke community truly comes out to celebrate their race. Plenty of spectators and tons of helpful volunteers helped to make the pain of all that elevation melt away - or at least made me forget about it for a minute or two!
A DNF was not the end result I was hoping for, but I'd definitely be open to going back to Roanoke and MAYBE giving the DOUBLE marathon another go in the future - maybe. ;)
GO RUN THIS RACE!