ROANOKE - Runners from Southwest Virginia and across the country are preparing to take on the toughest road race in the nation, the Blue Ridge Marathon.
This is the 8th year that runners will pound the pavement through Downtown Roanoke and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This year, Keith and Jennifer Buck are using the marathon to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
Saturday marks 11 years of marriage for the Bucks and after 16 weeks of training, they'll spend their anniversary running some of the toughest 26.2 miles in the country, with elevation changes of more than 7,430 feet.
Keith ran this race last year. For Jennifer, this is her first time competing in the Blue Ridge Marathon. It's an experience Keith says is unlike any other -- one he's excited to share with his wife.
"One of the things I like about this versus other ones, is you may find yourself walking at mile four," says Keith. "Whereas other marathons, you may run the first half or run to mile 16 and then take a walk break. Here, you hit Roanoke Mountain and most of the people are already walking. It's kind of a relief, in a way, that you can break it up."
For Jennifer, who has run the Richmond Marathon, she says she's ready for the challenge. This is a hometown race Jennifer has been looking forward to, as her family and friends will all be at the finish line cheering her on.
"There's nothing better than crossing the finish line, knowing that you're done," she says. "Everything you've worked so hard for, you're finally done. There's just a thrill I can't even really explain."
The race kicks off at 7:35 a.m. Saturday morning, rain or shine.
For more information on the race, Click Here.
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