One step in front of the other, in succession, for a period of time.
Running sure does sound simple enough, and why shouldn’t it be? Aside from those tricky first years of our lives, running comes fairly naturally to us. It provides great exercise, outdoor adventure and community building.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge offers runners of every type and skill-level the opportunity to fulfill their need to lace up and hit their stride. Whether that’s on smooth pavement or gravel trails, for competition or fun, our region has something for every runner to enjoy.
Created in 2007, Mountain Junkies L.L.C. is the result of husband and wife team, Josh and Gina Gilbert, discovering the joys of running up local mountain trails. Today, Mountain Junkies hosts races for the competitive minded trail runners in the region, but also serves as a knowledgeable resource for trail running in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Many of the multi-use trail systems that snake through our region are ideal for trail running. From the 40 miles of trails weaving through Carvins Cove Nature Reserve, to the 10 miles of well-groomed paths on Mill Mountain culminating at the iconic Roanoke Star, trail running in the region can take you to beautiful shores and mountain overlooks alike.
For those searching for the next milestone to conquer in their trail running careers, taking on a Trail Ultra may be right up your alley, and Odyssey Adventure Racing has the challenges you are looking for. Celebrating its 19th season as the pioneer adventure racing company in North America, Odyssey offers any number of adventure races, as well as coaching from a skilled team to prepare you to conquer an ultra-distance trail race.
If you prefer pavement, the running experience you are searching for is also widely available throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Runners of all skill-levels will appreciate the Valley’s mild temperatures and cool spring breezes as they discover our unique communities, one sidewalk at a time. However, before you head out, be sure to gear up at Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke.
Fleet Feet stores rank among the 50 Best Running Stores in America and are a one-stop-shop for all things running. Runners are encouraged to get to know the experts at Fleet Feet every Tuesday during the shop’s weekly evening Pub Runs along the Roanoke Valley Greenways. The popular, free events begin at the Wasena City Tap Room at 6pm and include a three and five mile route following the Roanoke River along the Greenway.
Running can be an incredibly relaxing experience, therapeutic even. A time to reflect on the day’s challenges conquered or the week of accomplishments ahead. But when it comes race day, there is only one focus—the finish line. Virginia’s Blue Ridge has a plethora of finish lines for you to cross throughout the year.
Runners can race for a cause during events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Hollins Communications Research Institute's Stride to Cure Stuttering, Roanoke Rescue Mission’s Drumstick DASH and many more.
Many cause focused races put the fun in fundraising. Races such as the Spooky Sprint, benefiting the West End Center for Youth, or widely popular Color Runs like the one benefiting the Blue Ridge Autism & Achievement Center in April, feature the perfect combination of running and entertainment to keep every participant motivated to cross the finish line.
New races, such as the inaugural Lewis Gale Salem Half Marathon are being organized all the time throughout the region. The Salem Half Marathon encourages participants to get active and enjoy our beautiful region. The City of Salem is known as “Virginia’s Championship City” and city organizers have partnered with Odyssey Adventure Racing to provide a race that lives up to the name.
Arguably the most well-known race in the region, the Blue Ridge Marathon, Half Marathon and StarK (10K) is quickly approaching! Billed as ‘America’s Toughest Road Marathon’ for good reason, thousands of spectators will swarm Virginia’s Blue Ridge on April 16th to witness hundreds of runners conquer 7,430 feet of total elevation change throughout the 26.2 mile course. The bucket list marathon continues to be a draw to runners everywhere, both for the challenge and the beauty of the region.
The marathon culminates with the Down by Downtown Music Festival, featuring live music throughout downtown Roanoke, and featured headliner Galactic getting funky inside the Elmwood Park Amphitheater.
This is just a taste of what Virginia’s Blue Ridge has to offer runners interested in beautiful views, challenging climbs, relaxing Greenways and invigorating races.