What you need to know ahead of the 2024 Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is returning to Roanoke and many are getting their best running shoes ready to take on the challenge.

2024 marks the 15th year the marathon has been in Roanoke. Over the last few months, the marathon has been voted the best running event in Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine, and Best Half Marathon in Virginia on It is also known as America’s toughest road marathon and has the most elevation change of any road race in the United States.

Race weekend kicks off on Friday, April 19, with a ‘Welcome Expo’ from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Elmwood Park. This is a great opportunity to chat with runners, families, visitors, volunteers, vendors, and concertgoers.

On April 20, the race will take off at 7:35 a.m. at Elmwood Park with runners from 42 states, including Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, and more. Event organizers say this year, about 3,00 runners are expected to join the race, including the marathon’s first blind runner who will take on the challenge.

Starting in Downtown Roanoke, runners go through rolling hills and climb up Mill Mountain. Runners eventually hit the Blue Ridge Parkway and then go up the Roanoke Mountain. The mountain ascends 780 feet. As the marathon continues, runners continue the challenge across Roanoke and ultimately, and end their race back at Elmwood Park.

However, there are several races for participants to take including the “Star K,” “Fun Run,” “America’s Slowest 5K,” the virtual race, and more.

Along with the marathon, a music festival will shake up at the finish line. There runners and participants can enjoy music from “Down by Downtown,” presented by Freedom First. This will be taking place throughout downtown Roanoke starting Thursday, April 18, and continuing throughout the weekend. There are 22+ musicians and bands scheduled to perform at 18 different venues with the majority of shows being free.

For a full list of venues and performers, visit this link.

Road Closures

As events kick off on Saturday, several roads across the Star City will be closed. On April 19, signs will be posted to show road closures and all no-parking zones.

RPD is encouraging drivers to use caution when driving near race routes, and to always yield to runners.

Here is a list of all the roads that will be closed on Saturday:

  • Jefferson Street (from Church Ave to Franklin Rd.): 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

  • Jefferson Street (from Franklin Rd. to Elm Ave): 5:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Jefferson Street, from Elm to Walnut Ave: 7:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

  • Franklin Road (2nd St to Jefferson St.): 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Franklin Road (Jefferson St to Williamson Rd.): 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

  • Walnut Avenue (from Jefferson to JB Fishburn Parkway): all lanes closed 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.; Westbound lanes open at 8:30 a.m.; Eastbound lanes from Hamilton Terrace to JB Fishburn Parkway open at 8:30 a.m. ; Eastbound Walnut Avenue Bridge opens at approximately 10:00 a.m.

  • JB Fishburn Parkway (road up to Star): 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (or when last runner clears the road)

  • Mill Mountain Parkway: 7:00 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m. (or when last runner clears the road)

  • Roanoke Mountain Loop Road: 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  • Wiley Drive (next to Rivers Edge Sports Complex): 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • Luck Avenue (Eastbound, from 6th Street to 1st Street): 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Bullitt Avenue (Eastbound lane, 1st St to Jefferson St): 5:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Elm Avenue (1st St to Williamson Rd): 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.

  • Laurel Street (Southbound lane, Riverland Road to Walnut Avenue): 7:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

  • Ivy Street (Northbound lane, Camilla to Walnut Avenue): 7:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

  • Camilla Street (Eastbound lane, Ivy Street to Sylvan Avenue): 7:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

  • Peakwood Drive (The “Uphill” Lane, entire length): 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

  • West Ridge Road (The “Downhill” Lane, Peakwood Dr. to Rosalind Ave): 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    • Cars will be allowed to travel UP West Ridge/Rosalind and DOWN Peakwood. West Ridge from Peakwood to the top will be open.

  • Winchester Ave (Eastbound lane, Main St to 8th St): 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Wasena Ave (Memorial Ave to 12th St): 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • 12th St (Wasena Ave to Winchester Ave): 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • 8th St (Southbound, Day to Elm): 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Alleys between Elm and Luck: 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Mill Mountain Zoo will be open for business at 12 p.m.

2024 Blue Ridge Marathon road closures. (Photo Courtesy: Roanoke Police Department)
2024 Blue Ridge Marathon road closures. (Photo Courtesy: Roanoke Police Department)

The police department is reminding residents who live in the area to move their cars before Saturday. Towing will begin at midnight on Saturday.

To learn more information about parking, click here.

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