The Blue Ridge Marathon set to draw thousands of runners from across the country and beyond

About 3,000 runners are expected to participate

ROANOKE, Va. – Runners are getting ready for the Blue Ridge Marathon this Saturday, which is expected to bring as many as about 3,000 runners.

There are about 26.2 miles for people to run in what’s often been referred to as America’s toughest road race. They’ll also face miles of climbing. The course starts at Elmwood Park. Runners will then go across Mill Mountain, enter Blue Ridge Parkway and trek across Wasena before going back to Elmwood Park to cross the finish line.

People from all over come to the race in Roanoke too. Event organizers said there will be people from about 40 different states and even people will be here from Hong Kong.

One of the local runners in this year’s race is Jody Callen. Callen said this will be her first full marathon and told us that she’s been practicing since about January with a group of people from C and C Runners. This hasn’t been easy either as she’s been waking up as early as 4 a.m. some days. Callen said she didn’t plan on doing the full marathon either.

“I had signed up for the half marathon and my friend Sunny needed a training partner and asked me if I was or could do the full marathon, and she convinced me to do it. So, I’m really excited now,” said Callen.

When Callen gets to the finish line, she said it will be emotional for her. She plans on doing the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

10 News also had the chance to speak with a mother-daughter duo, Karen and Harper Dillon, who said they grew up enjoying the sport together.

Karen said this will be her eighth marathon and her fourth Blue Ridge race. She said her daughter, Harper, who is in cross country and indoor and outdoor track at Hollins University, wanted to join her this time.

“She wanted to do this. She asked for me to sign her up to do this because she knows that I’ve done this for several years now, and I guess she thought it looked like fun,” said Dillon.

They’ve been training together, and they’ve already ran most of the 26.2-mile course they’ll be running this Saturday.

“I’ve been doing a lot of long runs with my mom. Not too long ago, we went on a 22-mile run, and it was very challenging, but it was a lot of fun,” said Dillon.

There will also be several detours for the race, which you can find here. Event organizers said you should use the app called “Waze” to help you get around Saturday.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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