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Blue Ridge Marathon Brings Largest Economic Impact to Date

More racers from out of town brought more money into the Roanoke Region's economy during the fifth annual Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, half marathon and Anthem Star 10K. "America's Toughest Road Marathon" hosted 1,594 runners who generated over $521,000 in economic impact according to a new report released by the Roanoke Regional Partnership. Over the past five years, the race has contributed more than $2 million to the local economy.

The economic impact is larger this year as a result of increased participation by runners from outside the Roanoke Region. The race drew runners from 38 states plus the District of Columbia -- and six countries: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. 

The race course started in downtown Roanoke and climbed to the top of Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain along sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a total elevation change of 7,430 feet.

Roanoke River Blueway Under Development

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is working with a group composed of local governments, non-profits, paddlers, fishermen, local outfitters and watershed groups to develop the Roanoke River Blueway, a 45-mile water trail on the upper Roanoke River.

A blueway is a navigable waterway with sufficient capacity for succesful progress of canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized vessels, with sufficient access and amenities to facilitate other recreational uses of the waterway. The Blueway runs from the South Fork Roanoke River at East Montgomery County Park to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Hardy Ford boating access in Bedford County at Smith Mountain Lake.

The Roanoke River Blueway flows through or borders the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, the Counties of Montgomery, Roanoke, Bedford and Franklin, and the town of Vinton. The Blueway also connects to numerous local parks, the Roanoke River Greenway, Tinker Creek Greenway, Mill Mountain Greenway, Blue Ridge Parkway, Explore Park and Smith Mountain Lake. 

The Real Reason People Moved Last Year

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the No. 1 reason 36 million people (who were one year or older) moved from 2012 to 2013 was because of the desire for a new home.

Forty-eight percent of those who moved last year cited housing as the main reason that contributed to their decision to move, followed by 30.3 percent who cited family, 19.4 percent who said employment and 2.3 percent who said "other".

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