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Blue Ridge Marathon double-marathon runners share experiences of race

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - In Roanoke, America’s toughest road race is back. The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon returned to the Star City after COVID canceled it last year. People from all over came out to take on the challenge and run in everything from a 10k to a marathon. Some athletes took it a step further by completing a double marathon.

Several double-marathon runners said they were up for the challenge, and it didn’t disappoint. The double marathon male winner, Ryan Johnson, came from Gaithersburg, Maryland for the race.

“Very tired, legs are tired, probably going to go to sleep because I was up at 1 a.m. this morning, but I’m very happy, it was a great race,” Johnson said.

This race was Johnson’s first ever double marathon.

“I’m training for a 100-miler in June so I thought a double miler would be a good tuneup race,” he said.

The Blue Ridge Double Marathon was also the first double for twin brothers Jacob and Jared Coccia.

“It was really tough, but it was really fun,” Jacob said. “It was rewarding to run together because we can push each other,” Jared added.

The twins say they ran in honor of the nonprofit they work with called Running Works.

“They are a grassroots project to help end homelessness in the Charlotte community, and so we’re running for them more then anything else,” Jared explained. “Yeah, every time it got tough, we just thought about why we were doing this,” Jacob said.

Stephanie Campbell came from Lexington, Ohio and placed as second fastest female running a double marathon.

“It’s the toughest marathon, so I needed a good challenge,” Campbell said.

A challenge Hana Baskin also couldn’t resist. She ran a full marathon and came in first place in the women’s category.

“I knew that there was a lot of hurt coming and a lot of hurt happened, but it was just a challenge that I couldn’t turn down,” Baskin said.

The runners shared inspiring words for those hoping for a future win or to one day compete in a race.

“Just start from wherever you’re at and build a little bit more, because you’re always going to get stronger, even on the hard days,” Campbell said.

“Keep showing up,” Baskin said.

The runners said they can’t wait to get back and run the Blue Ridge Marathon again next year.

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