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Urban Footrace Will Take Your Breath Away

Ever wanted to run up the stairs of the Wells Fargo Tower in Downtown Roanoke? Or through a parking garage?

Now’s your chance. Enter the WazUpWidis race today.

The first-year event is the brainchild of Roanoke Parks and Recreation and Mountain Junkies. The race, which is about 2.5 miles long, is being called “Roanoke’s Most Breathtaking Event.” The Feb. 9 race will feature outdoor and indoor runs and plenty of challenging climbs, including more than 600 stairs.

The challenge of this race is to run and climb all while passing by downtown Roanoke landmarks. Can you do both?

The course will route runners through the pedestrian crossing at Wells Fargo Tower, to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, across Salem Avenue and through the Campbell Parking Garage, by Warehouse Row, through the Gainsboro Parking Garage, down Shenandoah Avenue and back to the Wells Fargo Tower an up to the finish line on the seventh floor. One of the most unique features of the race is special access for runners through the museum train yard, where races will twist up and down three aisles and a series of parked trains.

This race is perfect for mid-level and experienced 5k runners, but don't expect to post a normal time.

"The course is certainly a challenge from the elevation standpoint, but just as long as you gear down and prepare to take a slower pace than your standard 5k, you'll be fine," said Joe Hanning of Roanoke Parks and Recreation. "If you try to race through it at your regular 5k pace, you'll certainly be hurting by the time you reach the Wells Fargo stair climb section."

Registration is open (and there is a discount if you sign up early). Early registration is $30 and goes up to $40 after Jan. 23. The top winners in each age group will win medals and there are additional prizes for top winners.

Just one question remains: What’s up with the race name?

Race organizers are pretty sure at some point during the race you will think “what’s up with this?” but because of the race’s intensity it will come out as more of a gasp, “WazUpWidis!”

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