ROANOKE, Va. -

Since it's inception in 2010, the Blue Ridge Marathon has gotten bigger and better every year.

In this, it's 5th year, it will definitely be bigger. Only time will tell if it's also going to be better, but two days before the marathon, it's a pretty safe bet.

Steve Buschor with Roanoke City Parks and Recreation says Roanoke is ready.

"We've had this weekend circled on our calendars for a while," Buschor said. He says it's no mistake that two of Roanoke's biggest construction projects finished completely before this weekend's race. 

Roanoke City spent over $7 million on renovations to Elmwood Park and Market Square. Elmwood Park finished last fall, but is still getting finishing touches. Market Square was completed early this month.

Buschor says the completion of these two projects is exciting and marks the first time the city is connected in the way city planners intended when they started both projects.

But the economic benefits of this race goes beyond Roanoke City. Catherine Fox with the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau says many of the hotels in the area are full or nearly full.

Fox says race registrants span 6 countries and 41 different states.  The marathon is actually almost at capacity, as nearly 2,000 people have entered the marathon, half-marathon and 10K.

Fox says the Blue Ridge's label of "America's Toughest Road Marathon" has done wonders for marketing the event and the area,

"It has a buzz to it in that it has legs, people want to come here and say if it's the toughest road marathon I want to try it. So it's going to get people here it's going to get them to spend the night. If there here they're bringing family, they may be bringing friends, so they're overnighting one or two nights. They're making a great impact," Fox said.

Fox says the average hotel stay of someone from out of town last year was two nights. Fox also said that 60% of those out-of-towners reported that they visited at least one of Roanoke's attractions while they were in town.

Of course, showing off all that the Roanoke Valley has to offer must require that it's done safely.

Like Steve Buschor and Catherine Fox, Roanoke City Police Captain Sam Roman says the department has prepped for this day for a while.

He says Roanoke Police, in partnership with other departments, will have officers stationed all along the 26.2 mile course, with an obvious emphasis in busier areas like the start-finish line.

But Roman says police can't do everything, and asks the public to be paying attention to their surroundings,

"Just be vigilant," Roman said, "Always be aware of what's going on around you. Sort of the see something say something philosophy."

Police ask if you're coming to the marathon to either have small or clear bags and not to leave any bags unattended.