First race of 2021! I was really excited to see the comeback of IRL (in real life) racing in 2021 after a tumultuous 2020! I had been eyeing a few races last last year/early this year, trying to decide when racing would resume and where I'd run my first race back. Since one of my best friends lives in western Virginia, he recommended the Foot Leveler's Blue Ridge Marathon. On a recent visit to Roanoke, he took me on a drive of the marathon course-- and man, let me tell you: it is no joke! The elevation increase is staggering and the race is referred to as America's toughest road marathon. The half marathon course is similarly challenging, just half as long, of course. The race also offers a 10k and a family-focused One Mile race. All distances provide breathtaking views of the valley-- that alone makes the hard work worth it!
Blue Ridge also offers a virtual option for all aforementioned distances. I know many of us spent the last year racing virtually, and I'm sure some are a bit tired of the concept and wish to get back to only IRL racing. Me, too! However, this option does still provide flexibility to those that may not be able to make it to the race for a variety of reasons.
The week of the race, I came down with a bad case of strep throat, and was forced to make the tough decision to change my 10k race into the virtual option. Though not ideal, I was still able to virtually "join" my friends and fellow BibRave Pros in participating, but from a distance. This meant running on my own on a humid Florida evening, but that's alright! I still had a good time!
The virtual options include a medal and t-shirt as well. As of today, I have not received these items, as they have just begun to ship them out. (Photos to come on my social!)
All-in-all, this is a great race and definitely one to add to your bucket list. I mean, who wouldn't want to say they've completed one of America's toughest road races?!