Frequently Asked Questions

Please be sure to review the details provided on the Registration page. If your question is not answered here, email us and we’ll get back to you with an answer!

Questions: (29)

• Will there be massage therapists available?

Yes! They will be at the finish line.

• Do you think this marathon is a good one to run as a first time Marathoner if you are an ok runner, who has ran several half marathons and smaller races with her best half being 1:40?

We posed this question to our Facebook page and got several responses worth of sharing:

Via Troy (AKA “I only dink pinot”):

Your half marathon PR is certainly respectful.  While there are certainly easier marathons to tackle the BRM is achievable assuming your training has been designed for a marathon.  Since most mortal runners struggle getting through the 18-20M wall and this distance falls right smack in the middle of climb #3 I would suggest being extra conservative on your pace.  It is not a bad strategy to walk the steep climbs…sure you give up some time but not as much as you might think (besides the time limit is 8 hours!).  Leaving some gas in the tank for the last 10K to finish your first 26M would be wise in comparison to having to slog through the final miles.  Be wise on hydration and fuel and plan on having fun.  You can do it!

Via Patrick:

I was a first time marathoner last year for the Blue Ridge Marathon. The only half marathon I had previously run was the inaugural Blue Ridge Half-Marathon (finished in 2:06). If you go into the marathon with the attitude that you’re going to enjoy the views and the experience first and worry about your pace second then yes I would do this as a first time marathon. If you’re worried about time, find something flat. My goals for last year were 1. Finish 2. Finish in under 5:00 and 3. Finish in under 4:30. I only met two of those goals, but the way I felt crossing underneath the MLK bridge with the finish line two blocks away was incredible. That’s why I’m doing it again!

Via Samantha:

Of course it depends on your goals and expectations, but I ran this marathon in 2010 and think of it as my favorite race ever! I’ve been running half marathons for decades, and added marathons in the past five years. It was a physically challenging course, the views were breathtakingly scenic, and the two combined made my slowest marathon finish the most rewarding finish. I would highly recommend this race to anyone who seek challenges or just enjoys beautiful vistas!

Via Frank:

The 1:40 half time is impressive. My question for the questioner would be, “Have you run 18 miles or so in practice?”

Via Gretchen:

I think it depends on how much of a challenge you want in your first marathon! I think it’s probably a better idea to race the distance on a flatter course first, and then add the challenge of hills. I ran the 1/2 last year, and am running it again this year because I want to PR it. I might do the full next year for the challenge, but I never would have done it as my first full. I train on some pretty serious hills, and my first marathon was flat but still a struggle just because of the distance. I think it would be pretty hard on your body to experience the race distance for the first time and have to deal with the hills at the same time.
Via David:
It depends on the training routine. On a marathon training program to “just cross the finish line” then a training run of 23-miles or more in a few weeks would be on the schedule. The course time limit is 8 hours. Give it a try!

• Do you have an estimate of the time that you can expect to add for this course vs. an average course?

Answered by Matt (AKA sage26), owner of Texas Tavern (which you need to visit while here):

I would say on average if you have someone that is a 3hr-4hr marathoner then they should expect our course to add an additional approx 40-70 seconds (as compared to running a flat marathon) per mile. For ex: a 3:00 marathoner should probably expect around a 3:15-3:25 on this course. A 4:00 marathoner probably somewhere in the 4:25-4:35 range.

Specifically I would say when encountering the big climbs they should run approx. as follows:

MILL MTN (1st climb)

Mile 2 – (start of mill mtn) add approx. 1:00-1:15 minute to “flat marathon” race pace (4.2% grade)
Mile 3 – (mill mtn) add approx. 1:30-2:00min (6.3% grade)

ROANOKE MTN (2nd climb)

Mile 6 – (add approx. 2:00-2:30 min) 7.3% grade
Mile 7 – (add approx. 2:00-2:30min) 6.4% grade

PEAKWOOD (3rd climb – mile 17.3-19)

I haven’t done a grade on this but I think it is about in between mill mtn and Roanoke mountain in steepness. I would expect to add about 1:30-2:30 min. per mile on this climb. However, it will “feel” harder than first two because of it being late in the race. These are a ball park estimates. A slower marathoner may want to slow down even more than I have indicated on these specific climbs so as to be a little conservative.

• Is there a runner bag check?

Yes. You’ll find the runner bag check located near the Elmwood Park Stage – look for the PODS container.  Due to heightened security, please place your belongings inside a CLEAR bag.  All bags are subject to search. We’ll collect the bottom tear-off number from your runner bib and attach it to your bag. All you need to claim your bag is your race number.

• Are we allowed to view the Taubman Museum of Art galleries?

  • Of course. Admission is free…but no food or drink allowed upstairs (including your hydration pack).

• Are there bathrooms (port-a-toilets) along the course?

Yes. There are toilets at every water/aid station, as well as the finish and start lines.

• Will I be able to pick up my timing chip Friday, at Packet Pick up?

All runners (except Relay Teams) will utilize disposable chips. This means that you can pick your chip up Friday at Packet Pick up. You must show valid photo ID to pick up your packet.  If you are picking up for someone else you must have a copy of their ID.

• Are showers available on race day?

Yes, shower facilities will be available for free at the Downtown Kirk YMCA located at 520 Church Ave. To use the Y’s facilities, you will show your bib at the front desk. There will be directions in with your Final Instructions.

• Where should I park?

There are public parking garages throughout the downtown area, most of which are free on weekends. Click here to view a map of parking garages.

• Will you mail or email confirmation to me?

If you register online, you will receive a Confirmation Email immediately. We do advise early registration. Registration fees increase the closer it gets to race day.

• Can I wear headphones while racing the Blue Ridge Marathon and Half Marathon course?

Runners participating in the Blue Ridge Marathon may use portable listening devices not capable of receiving communication. Runners must also be able to hear commands and instructions from event staff, course marshals, emergency personnel, and police.  The majority of the course takes place on roads open to vehicles, please ensure you can hear cars and voice. Use ear pieces at your own risk.

• I was injured after registering for the race. Can I get a refund or defer until next year?

No – there will be NO refunds or deferments. We incur fixed costs for each runner based on registration numbers. As a result, we are not able to allow any refunds.

• Can a race bib be transferred to someone else?

No. Bibs are not transferable. Transferred bibs will result in disqualification.

• I have read that it sometimes helps if a friend joins you to run for a few miles at the end of the marathon (i.e. miles 22-24) for moral support. What are the marathon rules about this?

Due to liability considerations, and out of respect for the registered participants, non-registered runners are not permitted to run or walk within the boundaries of the official marathon course. Friends may stand adjacent to the edge of the defined course and cheer the participants on! Friends must NEVER cross the finish line or enter the finish zone which begins approximately 2/10 mile before the finish.

• If I sign up for the marathon and I later decide that I want to run the half or 10K, can I switch events? Is there an additional cost?

You can transfer from the marathon to the half or 10K. To switch, send an email to the marathon office ( indicating your name and desire to switch. The office will make the switch for you and confirm via email. There will be no refund of the difference paid when switching from the full marathon to the half marathon or 10K. These changes can only be done prior to April 22. After April 22 they must be made at packet pick up on Friday April 25.  No changes can be made race day (April 26).

• If I sign up for the half (or 10K) and I later decide that I want to run the marathon (or half), can I switch events? Is there an additional cost? How can I change my status prior to race day?

You can transfer from the half to the marathon or the 10K to the half. Email with the desired change. Be sure to include your full name and the race category you wish to upgrade to. You will be charged the difference to upgrade. The price used will be the price associated with your original registration date. These changes can only be done prior to April 22 and must be communicated through the mail or e-mail.

• Can someone pick my packet up for me?

We strongly encourage all runners to pick up their own race packet at the Packet Pick Up and Expo on Friday at the City Market Building from 3:00 pm to 8:00pm. It is important for runners to verify their data and make any necessary changes. However, if it is not possible for you to pick-up your own packet, you may have someone pick it up for you. That person will be responsible for verifying personal race information (name, age, birthdate, etc.) and MUST bring a copy of your drivers license (or valid photo ID) and bring a release/waiver signed by you – click here to download the release and medical information sheet. This is for special circumstances ONLY. Team Relay members can also pick up their team packets but must bring a valid photo ID and completed waiver for each team member.

• Will photos be taken along the course and at the finish?

Yes…and guess what, they’re free.  We’re excited to partner with Game Face for 2014. There will be six photographer out there capturing the race from start to finish.  Game Face will upload the photos and they will be yours for the taking!

• Is it possible to drive the marathon course?

It’s not entirely drivable. You will not be able to drive the back side of Mill Mountain after reaching the Mill Mountain Star and Roanoke Greenway portion. Otherwise, the remainder of the course can be driven.

• Are there awards for each age group?

Yes, Awards will be give to the top three males and females in each age group.

• How do I dress (layers?) for the Blue Ridge Marathon?

Weather in Roanoke, VA in the Spring can vary dramatically. 2010 weather was overcast with a high of 63 degrees. 2011 was 55 degrees and rainy. We suggest you bring gloves, a hat and long sleeve shirt. Early in the race, you might have to shed some clothes so don’t wear anything too nice in case you want to throw them away (your competitor bib number must be pinned to the front of the clothing you wear since event officials will be inviting unregistered runners to exit the course. You could be mistakenly identified as an unregistered runner if your bib number is not visible). If you want to shed some clothes prior to the race start, you will be able to check them into the Gear Transfer Station and have it transferred to the finish line. See the Weather section of the website for historical race day temperatures.

• Is the Blue Ridge Marathon a qualifier for the Boston Marathon?

Yes.  The full marathon is USATF Certified Course number VA13067RT.  The half marathon is also a USATF certified course, number VA13066RT.  The Star-10K is not certified at this time.

• Where will the water stops be?

Full Marathon – miles: 1.1, 2.7, 3.8, 5.0, 6.3, 7.0, 8.9, 9.6, 10.7, 11.9, 12.7, 14.3, 15.4, 17, 17.8, 18.6, 19.8, 21.5, 22.9, 24.5, and 25.7
Half Marathon – miles: 1.1, 2.7, 3.5, 5.1, 6.4, 7.8, 8.7, 9.5, 10.6, and 12.3

• What type of liquids/gel do you provide along the course?

We provide GU Electrolyte Brew  and water at all fluid stations along the course. GU Energy Gels will be available at mile 7, 18.5, and 23 for the full marathon, and mile 7.5 for the half marathon.

Certain stations will be stocked with bananas, oranges, and pretzels on the 3rd table.

• What is the time limit for the Full Marathon and the Half-Marathon?

The Time Limit for both courses are 8 hrs. That will be a 18:32 min/mile pace for the full marathon course and 37:04 pace for the half. There will be a 7 hr cut off at Mile 22 for the full marathon course (intersection of Jefferson St. and Highland Ave).  If you do not reach this point by 2:35pm you will be directed to the finish line by continuing straight on Jefferson Street to the finish line in Elmwood Park (you will not be allowed to continue on the full marathon route).  This rule will be strictly enforced.




• Can I register on the day of the race?

No, the last opportunity to register is at Packet Pick Up and Expo on Friday from 3:00 pm to 8:00pm. A $10 processing fee will be applied.  There is NO same-day registration.

• Is this a Rain or Shine event?


SEVERE WEATHER POLICY: In the event of severe weather, the race director may decide to shut down the course. Should that happen, volunteer course marshals will be released from their positions; runners will be notified and asked to take shelter at the next aid station and wait for a shuttle bus to take them to the finish line. If you refuse to take shelter and continue on the course, you do so at your own risk.

• What type of running surfaces on the course?

All of the race is run on paved asphalt.