Best Weekend of the Year

mimosa aid station
Our favorite weekend of the year is this weekend – the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and Freedom First Down by Downtown music festival. This is our time to shine as a community.

Thousands of runners from across the United States will descend upon Virginia’s Blue Ridge this weekend for America’s Toughest Road Races, including the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and Half Marathon, and Anthem Star 10K. And thanks to the support of a dozen venues, there will be live music spread throughout downtown Roanoke, starting Thursday night and running through Sunday afternoon, as part of the Freedom First Down by Downtown.

It’s going to be an action-packed weekend, but you don’t have to be a runner to be a part of it. Here are five ways you can participate without running:

  1. Volunteer. It’s a fact that volunteering for Roanoke Outside’s signature outdoor events is designed to be fun and feel good. Pour beer, be a course marshal, or choose from one of dozens of other essential volunteer shifts. As a volunteer you get to help us welcome people to Roanoke, catch up with the community, and get in your good deeds for the week! See what shifts are still available.
  2. Free Music, Baby! (Leave work early 😉 ) and come out to the welcome Party at Elmwood Park on Friday night. Grab a brew from Parkway or Three Notch’d and get dinner from Salty’s while you get down to Macklyn and the Homies, Lazy Man Dub Band and Blndrs. The Freedom First Down by Downtown Weekend is going on all weekend and the lineup is full of free music. Get out and enjoy. If you bump into anyone from out of town, let them know you’re glad they’re here!
  3. Form a cheering section. Check out the course and find a watch party or form your own! Recommended: playing music, wearing costumes, funny-yet-encouraging signs, water sprinkler (if it’s hot), and snacks/beverages all make a great impression on runners. Check out some popular spectator zones.
  4. Rock out in Elmwood Park Saturday night with legendary 90s band The Wallflowers. Help us pack the park with runners and music lovers while we dance and shout the words to One Headlight. In fact, when you buy tickets to any of the paid shows in the Freedom First Down by Downtown Music Festival, you are supporting the growth of a vibrant music scene.
  5. Stroll the greenway with us (see we didn’t say run 😉 )! The Sunday Slow-K presented by Altra is really a celebration of an awesome community and a chance to close out the weekend with an easy stroll along the flat Greenway, starting with a recovery yoga session lead by Uttara Yoga, and ending with coffee and donuts. Scratch Biscuit will be onsite selling biscuits and mimosas will be for sale! We actually give a prize to the person who comes in last. Register now.

This weekend wouldn’t be possible without the support of hundreds of volunteers, amazing sponsors, and the absolutely incredible efforts of Roanoke police, fire, EMS, transportation, and P&R departments. Our community thanks you.