FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National College Blue Ridge Marathon Toughens Course; Issues Challenge to
Tucson's Mount Lemmon Race
Organizers have added a third peak to the course and staked claim to the
title of "America's Toughest Road Marathon."
Roanoke, Va. (December 16, 2010) - Organizers of the National College Blue
Ridge Marathon, America's Toughest Road Marathon, today announced that a
third significant climb and descent have been added to the already
formidable course. The addition of a winding, three mile section beginning
on Peakwood Drive in South Roanoke brings the event's elevation change to
more than 7,100 feet, approximately 1,200 feet more than the 2010 course.
"We had an overwhelmingly positive response to last year's course, so we
thought this was the most obvious way to improve upon it," quipped Race
Director Ronny Angell. The 2011 race will be held on April 16, beginning
at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Roanoke.
In addition to the announcement of the newer, more difficult course,
organizers issued a challenge to the Mount Lemmon Marathon, in Tucson, Az.,
which claims to be the "Toughest Road Marathon in the World." The Mount
Lemmon event features a formidable challenge, as it is entirely uphill with
6,000 feet of elevation change. "While uphill is difficult, a run that
features long, steep downhill sections is more taxing on your body," said
John Carlin, co-chair of the Roanoke event, which features three long
descents after each of the signature climbs.
Organizers of the National College Blue Ridge Marathon are willing to let
runners decide. Co-chair Pete Eshelman is offering the winner of the
October 2010 Mount Lemmon event an all expenses paid trip to Roanoke to run
the marathon here. "We believe our course is the most difficult," said
Eshelman. "It's one thing for us to say so, but let's hear from the
runners themselves." Eshelman said, "We are offering complimentary entries
to anyone who completed the 2010 Mount Lemmon Marathon." He also said men's
and women's winners of the 2011 Roanoke event would be offered the
opportunity to travel to Tucson to compete in the Mount Lemmon Marathon on
October 23, 2011 - if they have recovered by then.
With the addition of the Peakwood section, runners will now leave downtown
Roanoke, climb Mill Mountain and proceed to the Blue Ridge Parkway where
they will make the 4 mile climb and descent of Roanoke Mountain. They will
then return and climb the backside of Mill Mountain to the famous Star, and
descend into the Valley via Prospect road. That was the end of the serious
climbing/descending in last year's event. Now that Peakwood has been added
runners will begin a 1,200-foot climb/descent at mile 17.5 of the 26.2-mile
race. "Not only is Peakwood an additional climb, it's also steep and comes
in a difficult part of the race," explained Molly Bullington, assistant
race director. "People's legs will be tight after coming downhill from the
While organizers are proud that the marathon has emerged as a signature
outdoor event for Roanoke in just it's second year, they are also pleased
to see that a large number of people have expressed interest in forming
teams for the marathon or entering the National College Blue Ridge Half
Marathon as either a runner or a walker. While not as difficult as the
marathon, the half marathon option is "no walk in the park," said Angel.
Organizers also announced that men's and women's winners of the 2011
Marathon would once again receive Tag Heuer watches provided by race
sponsor Fink's Jewelers. Eshelman also said plans would also soon be
announced for other events associated with the marathon designed to create
more of a festival atmosphere on race day.
About the National College Blue Ridge Marathon: The National College Blue
Ridge Marathon was created by a group of runners and outdoor enthusiasts
who share equal enthusiasm for the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. A portion
of the event takes place on the Blue Ridge Parkway and proceeds from the
marathon benefit the non-profit Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.