April 21, 2015 — Foot Levelers welcomed over 1,700 athletes and their families and friends to Roanoke, Virginia on April 18 for the sixth annual Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon.
The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon has been billed as one of the world’s 15 toughest marathons and as one of the 10 hilliest marathons in the world.
The full marathon features 7,430 feet of elevation change, while the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Half Marathon has 3,600 feet of elevation change.
Among the many highlights of the event was a new full marathon record, established by Masashi Shirotake of Charlotte, who ran “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” in 2:49.33.
That beat the previous record by nearly three minutes. The men’s Half Marathon record also fell. Alexander West of Ashland, Ohio bettered the previous record by over six minutes
In all, over 1,700 runners participated in the event, which also featured a 10k event. Another highlight of the event came via Adam Dibble of Norfolk, Virginia. Dibble ran the entire 26.2 full marathon course carrying an American flag.
He did so to raise awareness of the “Honor and Remember” campaign, which was started in 2006 to “create, establish and promote a nationally recognized flag that would fly continuously as a visible reminder to all Americans of the lives lost in defense of our national freedoms.”
Foot Levelers brought in famed runner Dick Beardsley to speak to the participants of the races. Beardsley, who won the inaugural London Marathon (1981) and finished second in the 1982 Boston Marathon, participated in a Friday morning ‘shake-out’ run and then gave a talk Friday evening at the pre-race dinner.
Convinced at the last minute to run the 10k, Beardsley finished 37th overall (434 runners) with a time of 53:05. He then jumped on plane to London to celebrate the 35th anniversary of his victory there.
Including the 2015 event, the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is expected to approach a $2.5-million economic impact on the Roanoke region, which the company has called Roanoke home since moving from Dubuque, Iowa in 1988.
The 2015 race marked the third year Foot Levelers has been the title sponsor, having partnered with the marathon as a way to promote healthy and active lifestyles.
Source: Foot Levelers