Some Blue Ridge Marathon runners finish race despite weather concerns

Blue Ridge Marathon canceled due to severe weather.
Blue Ridge Marathon canceled due to severe weather.(Patsy Montesinos)
Published: Apr. 22, 2023 at 2:26 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Blue Ridge Marathon was canceled Saturday morning almost two hours after it began, due to a thunderstorm in the area, but not before some runners could finish the race.

3000 runners from 36 states and 7 countries were in Roanoke with one goal in mind – to complete the toughest road race in America.

“Mile 3 was the hardest by far. Just seeing the top but not being at the top yet. And downhill from there was great,” said DC resident Ryan Roegge.

Even the little ones got in on the fun. That is – before the storms arrived.

“Feels good to be done,” said Sean Leahy. “The goal was to beat the rain and the rain is just coming in now. So, snuck it right in, happy to be done.”

Leahy won first place in the half marathon– minutes before the race was canceled.

Organizers announced the cancellation of the race almost two hours after it began. In a statement, they said emergency services were forced to cancel due to severe weather and athlete safety.

“I am glad I got my race in. I do feel bad for everyone else,” added Leahy. “I hope people finish. I hope it doesn’t get too bad. It is an awesome accomplishment to finish a race. So, hopefully, it’s not too rough for everyone else out there.”

Officials urged everyone to evacuate the area and made shuttles available for runners. People who chose to continue did so at their own risk.

“If anything, it might help them out. Keep them cool a little bit. As long as they stay fueled and as long as it doesn’t get too bad,” explained Leahy. “A lot of people that are running this marathon are probably pretty tough anyways.”

The rain didn’t stop many runners from making it across the finish line. But maybe next year the rain will stay away.