Downtown Roanoke business owners hope Blue Ridge Marathon brings economic boost

As of now, about 3,000 runners from 43 states and five countries are expected to run

America's toughest road marathon is happening this weekend

ROANOKE, Va. – The Blue Ridge Marathon is taking place this weekend, and tourism leaders said that event as well as Down by Downtown are highlighting what the Star City has to offer.

Business owners said having the race back this weekend while COVID numbers remain low truly helps their business.

Crystal Bolton, who owns a snowball shop, hopes the race will cause a snowball effect for future events here in Roanoke.

Bolton owns Bayou Snowball and has been in business for 11 years.

“We keep going strong. Love it. We sell ice cream, snowballs and milkshakes,” Bolton said

And like many businesses, Bolton struggled throughout the height of the pandemic.

“The pandemic was tough, from March to May, and came back to a different downtown.”

Bolton is pleased to see people ahead of the Blue Ridge Marathon because it helps her business.

“I’m excited to say this week has been a great week butted to just a lot of positive energy coming into the marathon.”

Blue Ridge Marathon Race Organizers say this year the event going back to the pre-pandemic format where runners will not have to social distance.

As of now about 3,000 runners from 43 states and five countries are expected to run.

“What I’m really excited about is to seeing all the people who have never been to Roanoke before to come and check out the race, " Kate Pedigo, Blue Ridge Race organizer said.

Catherine Fox with Visit Virginia Blue Ridge says the race and the concerts help advertise what exactly the Star City and Roanoke Valley have to offer.

“We kind of feel like everything is in bloom,” Fox said

Officials say there was a major economic boost to the regional economy, about $1,600,000

“When they see it, it’s the way that we are able to showcase a region that people have not seen before and will attempt to come back, spend more time here”

If you would like more information about events in Roanoke, click here.

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.