Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke - WSET.com - ABC13

Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke

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Reporter:  David Tate

Roanoke, VA. - If you're heading into Roanoke this weekend, pay attention. There will be a lot of road closures for three different events.

All of the festivities center around the Blue Ridge Marathon, which gets underway early Saturday, rain or shine.

It's a day before the third annual Blue Ridge Marathon and a year's worth of work is about to pay off for event coordinator Pete Eshelman.

"We're seeing sustainable growth in this event, which is kind of what we wanted. We're getting people to come in from outside of this area and we're growing this event," said Eshelman.

Organizers are especially excited that the self-described "America's Toughest Road Marathon" is finally getting to show off its full course for the first time this year along the Roanoke River before heading off to the mountains.

"Last year, there was flooding on the river so we had to move off the river section," said Eshelman.

Unlike last year, there is hope the weather will hold off this year allowing for the full compliment of outdoor events. "Down By Downtown" festival has been showcasing live music at venues throughout the city since Wednesday.

So far, so good.

"Folks coming down for this are going to experience the Down X Downtown event so it really just works to bring people and activity into downtown Roanoke, which is kind of what we are all about," said Larry Landolt of Event Zone, the group organizing the event.

By Saturday evening, the Roanoke Twilight Criterium bike race gets underway near the Texas Tavern. 

This is all guaranteed to make parking a challenge. Many would argue it's not a bad trade off. Three events working to make one community event.

"The idea is to get people here and have them spend more than one day here. The last thing we want is for people coming from outside the area, running the race then getting into their car and go home. We want them to come here and experience Roanoke," said Eshelman.

Downtown will also be filled with other family oriented activities like vendors, inflatables and a climbing wall.

Key roads disrupted Saturday will include Jefferson, Campbell, Salem and Church Avenues plus a variety of streets throughout southwest Roanoke.

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