April 17, 2021
- America’s Toughest Road Marathon has the most elevation change of any road race in the United States.
- LOCATION: Course Start at Elmwood Park in downtown Roanoke, VA
- START TIME: 7:35 AM
- Corral Start System– Look for pace time markers and find the section that fits your goal. Please be respectful of other runners by placing yourself in the appropriate section. Faster runners congregating closest to the front.
- REGISTRATION POLICIES
MARATHON COURSE DESCRIPTION & MAPS:
- Full Marathon is limited to 750 runners
- Total Elevation Gain/Loss=7,430 ft
- 7.5 hour cut-off time AND a 6 hour cut-off time at mile 22.
- If runners do not maintain a 16:20 min/mile pace then course marshals reserve the right to pull you from the course for your safety.
- USATF Full Marathon Course Map
- Interactive Course Map (In-person) Interactive Course Map (Virtual)
- Full Marathon Printable Race Map
- Course Hydration provided by SKRATCH LABS & Nutrition provided by GU Energy
The Blue Ridge Marathon course is not for the faint of heart. The course begins and ends in downtown Roanoke. In between, runners will enter the Blue Ridge Parkway, where they will make three significant climbs and descents.
The course begins easily with one mile of rolling hills, before taking its first turn upward as runners begin the 2-mile climb up Mill Mountain. At the top of the day’s initial climb, the race enters the Blue Ridge Parkway, where there are several lengthy and challenging hills over the next two-plus miles. Then runners will encounter the most beautiful but challenging portion of the course – the climb up Roanoke Mountain.
Roanoke Mountain ascends approximately 780 feet in two miles with multiple switchbacks. Runners will see magnificent views of the region’s mountains and valleys as they pass the numerous overlooks, and will be rewarded with the best view at the top. The steep decent on the back of Roanoke Mountain is equally beautiful and difficult as the gradient forces runners to keep their speed in check.
After 4 miles of climbing and descending, the course returns to the Blue Ridge Parkway where runners will re-trace their steps toward Mill Mountain. Participants will then ascend Mill Mountain (the part not covered on the first pass) to the famous Mill Mountain Star, overlooking the beautiful Roanoke Valley and — much of the course still to be run!
From the Star, runners will encounter another major 2-mile decent down Prospect Avenue – also known as the “old road” to Mill Mountain. Back on the valley floor the final 10 miles is rolling with several challenging hills. Don’t let mile 18 and 24 sneak up on you!
The Valley section of the course briefly skirts the Roanoke River before turning into the historic and scenic area known as South Roanoke, famous for its beautiful homes. Be aware of a long climb on Avenham and Peakwood Avenues as you turn into the neighborhood. You will crest the hill right at 20 miles.
The terrain flattens out for the next 3 miles as you make your way through Old Southwest, along the Roanoke River Greenway, and through Wasena before heading downtown to the finish line at Elmwood Park.
Register early to ensure the best rate, when the discounted tier is FULL is will automatically shut off on our registration page. Registration closes at 8pm on Tuesday April 13. There will be no expo registration or day-of registration.
- REGISTRATION POLICIES– Please be sure to review all of our registration policies prior to paying online.
- All Marathon and Half Marathon finishers will receive a commemorative finisher’s medal. Age group awards will be presented for both events to the top 3 male & female finishers in the age groups.
- In addition, top 3 overall receive these awards and prizes.
COURSE CHANGE NOTICE
IMPORTANT NOTICE (As of March 26, 2019)–Due to circumstances beyond our control, there has been a slight course modification on the Roanoke Mountain section of the full marathon course. There was a landslide earlier this year, and for the foreseeable future runners will not be able to do the full loop.Instead, the course will be an “out and back” up the front side of Roanoke Mountain, around the overlook loop at the top and then back down. Because this is a shorter distance that the original loop, there will also be a second ~.4 mile “out and back” that takes you into the Roanoke Mountain Picnic Area before heading back to Mill Mountain. The maps above have been updated with the revised course.
We are working diligently to ensure that your race day remains seamless and easy. We will also continue working with the National Parks Service to find a long-term solution to this issue. Thank you for your understanding.