2015/2016 Expo Tour Announced

Foot Levelers and the Blue Ridge Marathon are coming to a city near you!

300x400dpi_marathon blockWe have selected six races where runners can come and meet the race director or event manager, and pick their brains about “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” face-to-face.  Our bucket list race takes a little courage to register for, and a lot of tenacity to finish, so speaking to our staff in person can help you decide if our unique race is the challenge for you.  Plus we will be offering special deals, handing out sweet runner swag and signing autographs (j/k).  They’ll probably be worth something someday right?

Why Come to An Expo?

Even if you’re not running in that particular race, most race organizer don’t mind if you come check out the booths.  It gets more foot traffic for their event and makes sponsors happy!  Here are a few other perks you might not know about race expos…

  1. Crazy Discounts:  If you register for The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon,  Half Marathon & Anthem 10k onsite at the expo, you will receive a CRAZY GOOD discount for the race distance of your choice.  Bring your friends and family, you all save!!  Plus we will be giving out 20% discount codes unique to each expo that can be used typically for 10 days after each race.
  2. Free Swag:  Every runner who registers onsite will get a top of the line Headsweatz brand Blue Ridge signature hat.  We will have a bunch of runner specific swag so that you can train in style for all your 2015-2016 races.  Not to mention at some expos we’ve seen runners getting free pre-race K-tape applications, massages, smoothies and more!
  3. Get Scanned:  So many injuries from long distance running derive from small issues in your posture, stance, foot arches, etc. These small issues don’t typically become a problem, but when they are repeated for 30-40 miles a week they can lead to long-term injury or pain.  Foot Levelers (our friends & official orthotic of the Blue Ridge) are going to be joining us offering FREE foot scans at a few of the expos, so you can learn more about what could be causing your pain, and how to correct it.
  4. Meet Our Staff: Unlike most larger races, when we come to an expo we bring our actual event manager and/or assistant race director.  This means that you get the rare opportunity to speak with the people who actually organize the race.  They’ve run the course, they will be there for you when you cross the finish line, and they know what it means to be a runner.  So come pick their brain at the expo and gain real insight into America’s Toughest Road Marathon.

As always if you have questions, feel free to email us anytime.  We look forward to seeing you along our east cost race expo tour this year.  For the latest Blue Ridge Marathon news, join our bi-monthly mailing list (we promise we don’t send a bunch of junk):

Buy 2015 Race Shirts

Leftover 2015 race shirt are now available (in limited quantities) for purchase online. The shirts are sold at cost with shipping & tax included for a flat rate of $10. Once your order is placed, the item will ship within 7 business days. Only the sizes shown are available.

The technical race shirts are lightweight and breathable, made of 100% polyester.

All shirts have the race distance, date and location printed on the front. The race and sponsor logos printed on the back. For question please email julia@roanokeoutside.com

Click The Images Below to Purchase Your Shirt:


Order Online

Download the 2015 Race Guide

Click the Guide Cover Image Below to Download:

Guide Cover Image 2015
















Race Guide Table of Contents:

  1. Runner Welcome from Foot Levelers
  2. Event Schedule
  3. Aid Station Location Map
  4. Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon Map
  5. Downtown Attractions
  6. Downtown Event Map (Includes locations for pasta dinner, packet pick up, finish/start line, live music, first aid, etc.)
  7. Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Half Marathon Map
  8. Finish Festivities
  9. Anthem Star 10k Map
  10. Runner’s Bib Features (There are more than you think!)
  11. Good Luck Letter from our Marathon Committee

Questions?  Contact our event manager Julia Boas!


How To Read Race Elevation Maps

How to Read Race Elevation Maps

A course that seems hilly or flat may be the opposite when you consider the scale of the chart.

By:Jenny Hadfield; Image by iStockphoto: Published March 18, 2015
Woman Running Up a Hill

Can you explain how to interpret a course elevation map? I’m trying to get a better understanding of a marathon I’m running this fall that looks intimidating on the chart, but there is no mention on the website about it being super hilly. Thanks. —Kayla

You are wise to get a handle on the marathon course now so you can develop a solid training strategy. You’ll want to train on terrain that’s similar to what you’ll face in the race.

On elevation charts, the elevation (listed in feet or meters above sea level) is located on the left side of the chart and reads from low (on the bottom) to high (on the top). The distance of the race is located along the bottom of the chart and will read from left to right in miles or kilometers.

First, note the range of elevation from the bottom to the top. If there’s a small range—like in the Marine Corps Marathon chart below, which ranges from zero to 230 feet—it means that even the largest hills aren’t that large. This course is flat to slightly rolling. Even flatter is my hometown race, the Chicago Marathon(also below), with a 30-foot elevation range. (Where we lack in elevation, we more than make up for in skyscrapers.)

If you’re not looking closely, you might think the Chicago course is hillier than the Marine Corps course because of its scary-looking profile. However, if the elevation scales were identical, the Chicago Marathon would look like a flat line and resemble the reality of the course (flat with only small bridge inclines). Those “steep” ascents and descents only gain or lose about 10 feet in elevation—not so scary after all.

If the scale of your map ranges in hundreds of feet, like the one for the Boston Marathon (below), it means there will be some elevation change and it is likely a rolling course. Also, you can see there is a significant loss of elevation in the first ten miles, but it still has some incline spikes in the first five. You can also see the steepest descent at around 15.5 miles followed by the famous “Newton Hills” (from 17.5 to 21 miles). The challenge of this course is the overall loss early in the race plus the uphills later in the race.

If the elevation chart’s range includes thousands of feet—like the one for the Blue Ridge Marathon (below)—it means you’re going to be tackling some tough hills. This may not look as hard as, say, the Boston Marathon, but if you plotted the two on the same scale, Boston would seem flat to gently rolling by comparison.

To get a sense for what the elevation changes in your race mean in real life, try running a rolling or hilly route near you. If you have a GPS watch that measures elevation change, use it, or chart the route using an online running tool that includes elevation (like MapMyRun.com) to see how your run’s elevation chart compares to that of your race.

If you start to get into this, you can determine the grades of the hills you run in training versus those you’ll face in the race to see how similar they’ll feel.  The grade of a hill equals the vertical gain divided by the horizontal distance you’re covering. So, for example, if you gained 300 feet over 0.7 miles, here is how you would calculate it:

First, convert the mileage to feet, using the knowledge that there are 5,280 feet in a mile.
0.7 x 5,280 = 3,696 feet

Then divide the amount of gain (300 feet) by the distance covered (3,696 feet).
300 feet of gain / 3,696 feet = 0.08, an eight-percent grade

* * *

You can ask Coach Jenny a running question on the Ask Coach Jenny Facebook Page or email your question here. Follow her on Twitter @coachjenny.

Foot Levelers Down by Downtown and Blue Ridge Marathon Announce 2015 Main Music Acts

Big Head Todd & the Monsters and MarchFourth!

Press Release February 21, 2015 – Organizers of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and Down By Downtown Music Festival are once again expanding the schedule in Downtown Roanoke as a part of the 6th Annual event (April 16-18). The weekend of live music kicks off Thursday night at over a dozen venues, continues with a free concert Friday evening featuring MarchFourth!, followed by Saturday’s headliner Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Elmwood Park Amphitheater in downtown Roanoke (finish line)

Elmwood Park Amphitheater in downtown Roanoke (finish line)

“Each year we try to grow the event,” said organizer Bruce C. Bryan of B2C Enterprises. “The purpose is to draw attention to the developing live music scene in Downtown Roanoke and the partnership with the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon allows us to draw big national acts to help promote the area. It also gives the visitors to our region something fun to do in conjunction with the marathon.”

Big Head Todd & The Monsters, a national touring act with roots in Colorado, will headline Saturday evening in the Elmwood Amphitheater. This platinum selling group is known for their spirited live show and chart topping songs like “Bittersweet”, “Broken Hearted Savior”, and “Circle”.

New this year is a free concert Friday evening in the Elmwood Amphitheater. The Friday concert is open to everyone and features Portland-based band MarchFourth! – a lively and engaging musical and entertainment act that is sure to draw attention. This 20-person troop will wow you with a show that takes you from the swamps of Louisiana to the gypsy camps of Europe, and through the deepest grooves of American funk, rock and jazz. Add high-stepping stilt-acrobatics and dazzling burlesque dancers, and you have a musical evening you’ll never forget.

“We want musical energy to match the energy of our running participants,” said Pete Eshelman, chair of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon.  “Both these concerts will definitely do that.  Adding the Friday free show and building on the success of the G. Love & Special Sauce concert last year, were our priorities and I think we were able to do that with this year’s lineup.”

“The marathon by itself is fantastic, but when you add in national acts like MarchFourth! and Big Head Todd, it helps shine a well-deserved spotlight on the event and all the good it does for the Roanoke region,” said Chris Cummings, Foot Levelers Media and Public Relations Manager.

Big Head Todd & the Monsters tickets go on sale February 25, 2015 at 10am through the Jefferson Center box office and online at www.JeffCenter.org.  General admission is $22 and special discounted rates will be available to marathon participants through their race registration process.

MarchFourth! is a free first-come-first served concert.  Shows both evenings will start early enough to draw concertgoers to other live music events happening throughout Downtown Roanoke as a part of the Down By Downtown Music Festival.  Local food and craft beers will be featured at both concerts for those who are interested in purchasing them.




With more than 30 live music performances at over a dozen venues throughout the city Down By Downtown (DxDT) is a celebration of Roanoke’s growing music scene. Participating venues host live music April 16-18, many of which are free.  DxDT was organized six years ago as a part of Roanoke’s Creative Connectors Class. Participating venues include The Taubman Museum, The Roanoke Library, Jefferson Center, Martin’s Downtown, The Phoenix, Awful Arthurs, Blues BBQ, Fork in the Market, Blue 5, Billy’s, The Quarter, Flannary’s, Cornerstone, 202 Market, Henry’s Public House, The Pine Room at Hotel Roanoke, 16 West Marketplace and METRO! For the past several years DxDT has partnered with the Blue Ridge Marathon to provide live music acts at the marathon finish line in Elmwood Park.



The Blue Ridge Marathon was created by the Roanoke Regional Partnership to showcase the region’s commitment to making outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship a core component of the Roanoke Region lifestyle. Originally boasted as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” it has more than lived up to the reputation. Not for the faint of heart, the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon features the most challenging and breathtaking course of any road marathon in the country and was recently named to The Weather Channel’s “World’s 15 Toughest Marathons” list (#8). Beginning in downtown Roanoke, Virginia and ascending four miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway to the summit of Roanoke Mountain this race will put you in the zone…and all before mile 10!


Foot Levelers, Inc., the world’s exclusive provider of individually designed functional orthotics and other therapeutic products, has been serving healthcare professionals for over 62 years. Foot Levelers supports every step patients take to enjoy fuller and happier lives at work, home, or play.
For more information or to volunteer:

DownByDowntown.com | Facebook/DownByDowntown | Twitter@DownByDowntown |
BlueRidgeMarathon.com |Facebook/BlueRidgeMarathon  | Twitter@BRM26pt2  |



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