Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The Blue Ridge Marathon has been on my radar for several years but this year was the first that it fit into my schedule...and that I was fit enough to tackle the challenging event, which appropriately claims the title of "America's Toughest Road Marathon." On Friday, after a fun day with the middle schoolers, I made the short trip to Roanoke to complete packet pick up. Packet pick up was held in downtown Roanoke at the City Market Building, which is centrally located in downtown and houses numerous takeout restaurants including Queso Southwest Grill, Hong Kong Restaurant, and All Sports Cafe. I'll address the location a bit later in the post.
After grabbing both bibs, I headed into the City Market Building to find the following:
|(Click photo to enlarge)|
After grabbing shirts, I headed down the stairs to check out the "rest of the expo." Foot Levelers, a custom orthotic company, is the title sponsor of the race and had a pretty elaborate setup at the expo. Mounted on their massive display was a large flatscreen TV that had a course preview sped-up on loop, which allowed expo attendees to preview the entirety of the course in roughly 10 minutes. I saw this for the first time at Rock 'n' Roll USA last spring, the race that I proposed to Michelle in the middle of. You can watch the video of the course HERE. The photo to the left shows runners standing on some type of foot scanning device...I didn't stay around long enough to see the entire process.
Traffic was just starting to pick up as I as leaving a little after four and the parking garage had quite a line to get out. One note for future participants, the parking garage off Campbell Ave SE DOES NOT accept cards as a form of payment. I only realized this, despite having been there 10 or more times(?!?) when I handed them my card and the guy gave me a frightened look. Fortunately, there were a bunch of folks behind me so the guy wrote an IOU (which I plan to mail!) and let me go on my way. However, on Saturday during race day parking at the garage was FREE!!! So participants find this garage next year and enjoy free parking two blocks from the race start.
Stay tuned for my race report including how I managed to take 28th overall after faltering in the second half of the race dropping from 11th place!