ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Grab your running shoes because the Blue Ridge Marathon — also known as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” — is set to return to the Star City on Saturday!

At 7:35 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, up to 750 runners are set to kick off the 26.2-mile marathon from Elmwood Park in downtown Roanoke.

In addition to the Blue Ridge Marathon, there is also the 13.1-mile Blue Ridge Half-Marathon and the Anthem Star 10K taking place in the Star City on Saturday.

The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon Series has earned its title as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” by challenging runners with over 7,430 ft. in elevation change, more than any other road marathon in the U.S. This race runs along the famously scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, and proceeds from this non-profit event benefit the parkway and local charities. The full, half and 10k all prove equally challenging yet rewarding on this mountainous course, and all runners are rewarded with a unique finishers’ medals, a tech-tee, live music and local craft beer at the festival-like finish in downtown Roanoke

Blue Ridge Marathon website

This big race series brings in nearly $900,000 in economic impacts to the region.

Even if you’re not a runner, you can still play a part in the race that helped put Roanoke on the outdoor sports map.

The director for the Blue Ridge Marathon, Molly Bullington, joined Amanda Kenney and Evan Johnson on “WFXR News at Noon” to discuss how you can get involved, whether as a racer or a volunteer. She also shared information about how the pandemic changed the marathon, as well as ways that Roanoke motorists can avoid traffic headaches on the day of the race.

Follow this link for more information about the Blue Ridge Marathon and the other races taking place in Roanoke this weekend.