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April 17 2012 / Emily

Blue Ridge Marathon Preview

Just a handful of days left until my next challenge: the Blue Ridge Marathon.

Have I mentioned they trademarked the phrase “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”?!

For reference, here is the elevation map:

up, down, up, down

The Blue Ridge Marathon (BRM) organizers are thrilled to announce they added over 1000′ elevation change from the 2010 course (not sure how that compares to the 2011 course), for a total of “over 7234′ elevation change.”

Though I train on plenty of hills, I am getting all sorts of worked up about this… because I train on hills, not MOUNTAINS. One of my worst neighborhood hills is a street called Pilot View, presumably named as such due to the potential view of Pilot Mountain, about 20 miles away.  Note that I am not usually running up a mountain.

So, how did I get myself into this?  Just wanted to save some money…

In early May of 2011, a week after the extremely rainy 2011 running of the race, the organizers advertised a 50% discount for 2012 marathon registration.  The deal was good for just a week or so, and some folks I knew had just run it.  Only $40 for a marathon?  I was hooked.  So I registered and messaged the guys who had just run it to share the deal with them… turns out they ran the HALF.  One response: “ugh, you do know it’s running up two mountains? I’ve been pretty hesitant to run the full…”

With’s ever present fees, registration came to $43.95.  Let’s see if I find that such a good deal come Saturday afternoon.  I’ll likely be offering $100s to the roads to please just flatten out a few hundred feet!

By the way, a disclaimer was quickly added to my message to them, once the guys decided they would also sign up: ” awesome! I hereby forbid anyone from blaming me for making them run this race, but I will accept thanks. ;)”  Thanks to the wonders of technology, this whole exchange was saved on facebook, making it easy to cut & paste.

I’m still mulling over an attack plan for the race.  Definitely intend to walk up [parts of] the biggest inclines.  I’m generally fairly comfortable with long, fairly gradual downhills.  I expect BRM will have some of the gradual and some of the quad-shredding, screaming downhill sorts of declines, and I need to be sure not to destroy my legs too much in the early part of the race.  Mile 22 and on (looks like only 40 feet low to high) should feel like a flat pancake after the early part, but who knows what kind of shape I’ll be in then.  Just need to run a smart race.

My feet may do something to prove me wrong, but I am pleased to predict I shouldn’t lose any major toenails as a result of this marathon… because I haven’t any left.  Actually, my big toenails are finally growing back after the damage done during my double marathon in November, but they are likely as safe as a distance runner’s toenails can be.  Can’t be so sure with my second toes… those guys that are taller than the “big” ones are often danger zones for me.

Forecast right now has scattered thunderstorms with a high of 75° on Saturday.

So, my current “reach goal” is avoiding a new personal worst (PW: 4:56:59) at BRM.  It will be my eleventh marathon.  Maybe it won’t be quite as bad as I’m anticipating – that would be nice.  But I’m just hoping to keep it under 5 hours without resorting to roller skates on the downhills.  haha.

P.S. apologies in advance to anyone who finds this post looking for an actual valuable preview to the BRM.  This is just my own preparations.



Leave a Comment
  1. Deepa / Apr 17 2012 11:28 PM


    I’ll say it again-you are my idol!!!


  2. hinsone / Apr 18 2012 6:25 AM

    Good luck! I look forward to reading the recap. I think you’re personal preview of the race is exactly what we came here looking for, we want to know your thoughts on what’s coming up. I’m looking at that elevation map and I thought the St Leo’s course was bad… haha… Have fun!

  3. laurenquartz / Apr 18 2012 8:33 AM

    You’ll be great! Ok, so maybe your time won’t be great, BUT I know you will finish and that will be an awesome accomplishment. 🙂 Think how shiny that medal will be when you grab it at the line!!

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