The winners of this weekend's Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon won't just go home with bragging rights. They'll also take home a piece of Roanoke.
Six top finishers will leave with a print by local Artist Eric Fitzpatrick.
On most days you'll find Eric Fitzpatrick working in his Roanoke studio. His work includes oil paintings, water colors and acrylics.
This Saturday the top male and female runners in the full marathon, half marathon and the 10K will each go home with an Eric Fitzpatrick print.
Fitzpatrick took time when choosing exactly which prints the top runners will receive. "I just went through and I thought you know what are the landmarks that are close to where they're running," Fitzpatrick explained. "Let's get stuff they would run by when possible or things they'd be close to."
One print shows the Texas Tavern, Another depicts Roanoke's city market. Fitzpatrick described the scene with people bustling around the city market building. "This is called 'Morning on the Market.' It was all about the chaos you feel on a morning down there when the air's still cool, people are bustling around," Fitzpatrick said.
Another print shows a scene form one of Fitzpatrick's favorite vantage points along the Parkway looking back at the Roanoke Valley. "I just think it's a breath of fresh air whenever you can get there," Fitzpatrick said. "It does your soul good so I try to get up there and paint on Bent Mountain looking back to the valley."
While Fitzpatrick paints many landscapes and beach scenes, the prints he's chosen for the race winners are some of his lighthearted works.
"These I would describe as very whimsical, whimsical realism with a lot of humor in it and a lot of love," Fitzpatrick said. "To me their sort of a Valentine to the place I grew up."
The artist says he tries to capture the flavor of the places he's painting. "When you go in the Texas Tavern it reeks of personality, the character the color whatever
and I've tried to really grab those things," Fitzpatrick said. "I try to say them with as much life as I can because that's what you feel when you're in those places and in those landmarks."
Fitzpatrick says with runners coming from near and far- he's proud the top finishers will go home with a piece of Southwest Virginia.
"They will take those landmarks wherever they're from, these 40 states and five countries," said Fitzpatrick. "And they'll have something to remember us by which makes me very happy."