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Blue Ridge Marathon To Return on April 17 

Using a healthy dose of social distancing, The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, will return to Roanoke on April 17, 2021. Over 2,700 masked runners will line up in 50 person waves to start the race on Jefferson Street in downtown Roanoke.

These waves will continue for 1.5 hours until all racers have crossed the start line, which ensures they will remain distanced throughout the 26.2 mile course. This change is just one of many required for the race to meet the Governor’s guidelines and VA Department of Health requirements to host an in-person event.

“We are excited to bring the first large-scale event back to Roanoke since the pandemic. We wanted to make sure we set the gold standard for how in-person events can be done in a low-risk way so we all can start moving closer to normal. Studies have shown outdoor and endurance events to be safe even in a COVID environment,” said Julia Boas events director at the Roanoke Outside Foundation.

Even with the added safety protocol and late notice of the permit approval, the race has attracted runners from 40 states and 5 countries to America’s Toughest Road Races. Distances still include a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, team relay, 1 mile fun run and of course the notorious 52.4-mile double marathon. The Sunday morning shake out known as the Slow-K, which is typically walked with a cup of coffee and donuts, will also be back at River’s Edge on April 18.

Registration for all race distances, including the Sunday Slow-K, closes early this year on Tuesday, April 13 at 8pm. To register visit www.blueridgemarathon.com.

Race weekend kicks off April 15 with the Freedom First Down by Downtown Music Festival featuring four days of live music at multiple venues in Roanoke. It continues Friday, April 16, with the Race Expo in Berglund Hall at the Berglund Center from 12-8pm. Tickets for the post-race celebration in Elmwood Park remain on sale until April 17 at 2pm, unless sold out. Ticket portal can be found at www.downbydowntown.com

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