#runblueridge Contest Winner


It gives me great pleasure to announce the winner of my Blue Ridge Marathon free entry contest.

Drumroll please……..

Miranda Byrd!

Congratulations Miranda!!!  You will now be able to register for the 2014 event for free.  How exciting is that?

Miranda provided me with a few details about herself, and I wanted to share that along with a link to her running blog for anyone that wanted to give it a look or follow.

Miranda lives in the Atlanta area in Georgia.  She lived in Memphis, TN for four years, and that is where her running career started.  She ran her first marathon last year.  The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon, followed by the St. Jude Memphis Marathon just three weeks later.  Ok, just this detail leads me to believe that she loves a challenge.  The Blue Ridge Marathon will be right up her alley!  Miranda is very involved in her local running community. She is a member of the Douglas County Rogue Runners, GUTS, Atlanta Track Club, and Yeti Trail Runners.  She said she particularly loves trail running.  She loves her dog, and sings in her church choir.  You can check out Miranda’s blog here….  www.mirandainmotion.com

I can’t wait to meet Miranda next April in Roanoke, Virginia, for the 2014 running of the Blue Ridge Marathon.

Again, Congratulations!


Blue Ridge Marathon Contest!!


Ok folks, this is it!

Previously stated, and a couple of different dates were given, but I have been given the go ahead to hold my contest this week!

So, starting today with this post, my official race entry contest begins, and will run through this Sunday evening at midnight.  I will use a random number generator and choose a winner next Monday, and make an announcement with another blog entry on October 21, 2013.

You will receive one entry for a comment left on this blog post, and a second entry if you get others to follow my blog.  Please make sure to let me know on Twitter @RunningWild1313 if you introduce others to my blog, and have those people reference your name in his/her replies in the comment section on this blog post.  Your comment on my post should include the reason/reasons why you want to win a free entry into this race.


The Blue Ridge Marathon is an epic event!  It is challenging, and it WILL challenge you to your core.  The event is April 26th, 2014 in Roanoke, Virginia.  It is a beautiful area, with amazing people.  The winner will receive one free race entry, on this date.  If you would like more information, please visit the official race website at http://www.blueridgemarathon.com, and follow them on Twitter at @BRM26pt2.  The website has a lot of great information regarding race specifics, course map, and elevation chart.


That is me, after completing the event this year.  Happy as a clam, and thrilled with beating this tough course.  The journey was amazing, the views astounding, the race organization top notch.  We would love to have you join us for this event in 2014.  As an official Blue Ridge Marathon Blogger, I will be back again in April of 2014, and ready to better my finish time from this year.


The very best of luck to all of you!

#runBlueRidge 200 days away! @BRM26pt2


After the finish of the 2013 marathon. I’m still in one piece, and smiling!

That’s right!  The Blue Ridge Marathon is 200 days away!  Time to get signed up for America’s Toughest Road Marathon, in Roanoke, Virginia.  April 26, 2014 is race day.  You have plenty of time to train for this amazing race.

Don’t let the impending difficulty of a mountain race keep you from registering…. because this race is amazing!  And remember….


I found this today, and it couldn’t be more meaningful in life, and on the journey that is the Blue Ridge Marathon.

Be fearless….  Be rewarded!

Registration is open, please visit http://www.blueridgemarathon.com for more details.  Don’t forget, as an Official Blogger for this marathon, I will be holding a contest on my blog in December for a free race entry.


I’m so friggin’ excited!

#runBlueRidge Contest Update


I recently posted a few times that I would be running a free entry contest this week for the Blue Ridge Marathon.  I am so sorry to say, but I was contacted late last night about a change in the schedule.  My contest has been bumped to the week of December 9th, so that there will not be two contests going on at the same time.

#RunChat on Twitter has a sponsored giveaway for the marathon this week, so we will look at this as a positive, and a way for those interested to become more involved in #RunChat.  Are you on Twitter?  There is a huge community of runners on Twitter, and it is a great way to become more involved.  “Meet” people from all over the globe who have the same interest in running that you do!  It is also a great way to learn more about races all over the world, and let’s face it, there are over a half billion active registered Twitter users.  There are close to 60 million tweets per day.  That’s a lot of people, and tweets!

I joined Twitter a few years ago, mainly just to check it out, and to follow a few hotels in Las Vegas, as I was planning a trip out there back then, and was looking to get insider info on deals, Etc..  Since then, it really just became a runner forum for me.  Kind of a way for me to pacify my thirst for knowledge about my favorite activity -running.  99% of who I follow are runners, and 99% of my followers are runners.  We can trade info on training, racing, etc..  It’s a great way to get information.  I get a lot of world news from Twitter.  You can really use it in many, many ways.  My Twitter handle is @RunningWild1313, so if you are on Twitter, give me a follow, and I will follow you back.  Hey, and if you are on Twitter already, follow the Blue Ridge Marathon, if you don’t already.  They are @BRM26pt2.

#RunChat takes place on Sundays.  It is a Q&A about all things running, that takes place at 10p.m. On the 1st and 3rd Sunday every month, and at 8p.m. ET on the 2nd and 4th Sunday every month.  Join the Chat!  There is normally a sponsor every week, offering a discount or contest for those attending the chat.  There is currently a 20% discount being offered this week by @KTTape on orders placed using discount code RUNCHAT.

I have been informed that #RunChat will be having a giveaway this week for #runBlueRidge, so my contest is being moved.

Again, I am so sorry.  If you have been waiting for my contest post, please hang in there with me, it will all be worthwhile.  Stay tuned, my contest is just being moved to December.  I loved racing the Blue Ridge Marathon this year, and I actually won a blog contest last year for a free entry.  So, someone will win!!  Promise!


Contest!! Next week! #runblueridge


Don’t forget!!  Mark your calendars….  I will be hosting a contest for a free race entry into the Blue Ridge Marathon starting this coming Monday, October 7, 2013.

Details coming soon.  Get your legs ready for….


You wont’t regret it!  Easy for me to say, right?  Well, it is.  I ran it, I am a veteran.  I survived.  I live to tell just how awesome this race is.  Your chance to run this race for free begins next week.

You can follow this amazing race on Twitter at @brm26pt2, and use the hashtag #runblueridge for connecting to others that are talking about this cooler than cool race!


Blue Ridge Marathon Blogger


It’s official!  I have been chosen to be an official blogger for the Blue Ridge Marathon, in Roanoke, Virginia, on April 26, 2014.  The email actually came in while I was running a half marathon this past Thursday evening.

I am thrilled to be chosen.  I ran this marathon earlier this year in April, and had the time of my life!  This is a bucket list race, a “must run”, in my book!  I look forward to blogging more about this incredibly well run event in the coming months.  I hope you will join me on this blogging journey, as I will also be holding a contest, with the winner receiving a free entry into the 2014 event!

Stay tuned for more info on the area, as Roanoke is a great city to visit, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.  If you haven’t already read my review/recap of this years event, check it out.  http://wp.me/p3u1nG-i.  This race is considered to be America’s Toughest Road Marathon, and will challenge any runner with over 7,000 ft. of elevation change.

Here I am, in probably what will be the best race photo ever taken of me.


….and yes!  This photo is from the Blue Ridge Marathon this year!

Blue Ridge Marathon memories

Over a month has passed since this epic event in the mountains of Virginia.  If you are looking for an amazingly beautiful and challenging race, this event is for you!  I still have flashbacks to those views, the great course support, and the feeling of bliss after completing this marathon.  Run this event, you will not be disappointed.


Blue Ridge Marathon

ImageRace day-  I got up  at 4:30am, giving myself enough time to wake up, have coffee and mentally prepare. I always give myself two hours before having to leave for a race.  Mom and I left the hotel with the intent of driving the quick five minutes to downtown and find a parking spot in the deck close to the finish area.  It was a very chilly and windy morning so I had a sweatshirt on, and planned on removing it prior to the start of the race.  We walked around to get familiar with the start and finish areas, and also spent some time in the City Market Building to keep warm.  As I was getting ready for the race, warming up my legs and stretching, all I could think about was the events of the week in Boston.  I was sad, and reflective on why I run, and how lucky I was to be there.  I would dedicate my run to those affected by the awful acts of violence earlier in the week at the Boston Marathon.  I had pinned a blue and yellow pin on the back of my race shirt along with a “Remember Boston 4/15/13” race bib.  This race for them, and my way to honor the victims and families.

We saluted Boston at the start of the race, and were off.  Security, police and helicopters surrounded the area.  ESPN was there to cover the event, and pose the question to runners about how safe we felt as the first marathon following Boston.  The piece aired the following day on Outside the Lines.  When I ran under the starting arch, and hit the timing mat, I reached up and touched the Boston flag that was hanging at the start.  My Blue Ridge Marathon, my fifth overall marathon, had begun.  I always use the first few miles of a race just kind of finding my pace, dodging and weaving, and just enjoying the race crowd.  I saw David @runningbecause from #runchat, and his bright calf socks.  I also saw Nicki and Angie, who were side by side, all whom I had met the evening prior at the Legends pasta dinner.  An evening with Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and Bart Yasso.  We got to hear each of them speak, and tell inspirational tales off running.  Back to the race…….  I try to take in all the views as well.  This was very important to me today, since this was a destination race for me, and my first time in Roanoke.  I had won a free entry into this race from Nicki’s blog (nickisnook).  Thanks Nicki!  Not long into the race began the first climb.  Roanoke (no joke) Mountain was tough.  Several miles up, through beautiful mountain scenery.  My kind of race!  I love running hills, and the beauty was unending.  After a quick potty break at the aid station located at the half and full marathon split, it was time to hunker down and really try to find a groove.  I managed to climb almost all of Roanoke Mountain without walking, and was very relieved when I hit the summit, and the quick turn around through a lookout point.  I did stop quickly to take pictures.  Priceless view, making that climb completely worthwhile.

The downhill portion reminded me of being a kid.  Running down a hill, or laying down sideways and rolling down a hill.  Picking up pace was easier than holding back, so I used gravity to make up some time.  I think my overall pace was sitting at 9:25 at the summit, and I managed to get it down under 9:10 by the end of that descent.

Next up was Mill Mountain.  I really had found a groove at this point, and was just trying to enjoy the views, and keep my body upright.  I tend to slouch when I don’t pay attention to my frame, and I found this happening at this point in the race.  Truth is, I was tiring.  I had to focus, get upright, and run.  Making it to the top of Mill was great for many reasons, most of which was the cheering crowd at the aid station under the “Star”.  I once again stopped long enough to grab some water, a banana and to snap a few pictures of the Star, and surrounding vistas.  Breathtaking!!  Once again, time to head down the mountain.  Powered by the banana, and GU chomps on the way down.  I felt really good.  Sort of a second wind.  Felt really happy.  The race crowd had thinned a good bit at this point, and it felt like I was all alone heading gown Mill Mountain.  It was quiet, quite serene, only hearing the noise of my breathing, and feet on the pavement.  I loved this portion of the course.

Heading into Peakwood, I reminded myself what I had heard the evening before at the pasta dinner. Peakwood, aka Pukewood, was the steepest of the climbs.  Take it easy, walk if necessary.  If necessary?  I had no choice!  I had to walk some.  There were no if’s about it.  I ran when I could, and was grateful to reach the top after what felt like an eternity of uphills.  The portion of the race was incredibly beautiful.  Different than the other mountains, the one was mostly residential, large homes, and cheering families all along the way.  I stopped to take water from little girls, not something I normally do, but felt the generosity and willingness to help us, that I could not resist.    One little girl was so tickled that I chose her to take water from.  She said to me “keep going, just throw your cup, we’ll pick it up for you”.  It was too cute!  I will always remember her smiling face, out there helping me and my fellow runners.  Moving on up, I finally made it to the top!  I really don’t remember much about this aid station, except that I grabbed a few cups of water and just wanted to get back down as fast as I could.  I spoke to several runners on the downhill as I passed them by.  Everyone seemed relieved that the race would soon become flat.

From that point on I made the twists and turns, and really was getting psyched to finish. I got emotional several times in the final few miles.  This has never happened to me before, but thinking about Boston all during the race, I just couldn’t help myself.  It made me think how thankful I was for my health, my ability and desire to run, to stay fit, and to conquer the miles.  Not only right then in that moment, but every day.  I was truly touched by the stories from Boston, the camaraderie and care that the entire running community showed in one of its deepest, darkest moments in the midst of such a triumphant day in our sport.  I am thankful for my running community and how we all have that sense of togetherness even more now after the events of the week.

The finish line was nearing on my fifth marathon, and I absorbed every clap and cheer to the line.  I saw my Mom, cheering, and heard my name announced as I crossed the finish.  I then received my awesome medal from a tiara-wearing beauty.  In the moments after the race, I immediately had that runners high, that sense of accomplishment.  It was big here, maybe bigger than all of my other races except for my first marathon in Myrtle Beach.  This was an extremely hard marathon and my body was letting me know just how hard it was.  I felt so good though that I persevered, and actually had my second fastest marathon time.  I finished in 4:04:59.  In the back of my mind I wanted to break 4 hours, but my realistic goal given the nature of this mountainous course was 4:20:00, so I certainly achieved that!  Success!

In the finish area I bumped into David from #RunChat.  We talked for a bit and snapped a picture which he posted on his blog.  Then Amy crossed the line, and we chatted some, too.  Oh, David is @runningbecause and Amy is @librarian262.  Then I grabbed some pizza and a Diet Coke (fantastic) and we hung out for a bit chatting with Bart Yasso  @bartyasso.  That was very cool!  Unfortunately I was not able to hang around for too long, as we needed to get to the car and head home.  A 3.5 hour drive, we were trying to get back home for another event.  My oldest son had his Junior Prom that night, and I wanted to get some pictures of he and his date.  I missed getting to see Josh (@joshberka), Angie (@AngieMaskeBerka) and Nicki (@NickiinNY) as they finished the race. So grateful to have met all of them the evening before at the pasta dinner.  I have met quite a few runners over the past few years, and it always amazes me how having running in common bonds us all.  The running community is truly unique in that way.  Always there to lend a hand, offer encouragement, give praise, and celebrate together.  Our craziness for racing, whether it be a 5K, Half or Full Marathon, and everything in between, we all put our shoes to the pavement and become friends for life.  Running has taught me to be grateful, to celebrate my successes, and to celebrate the successes of others.  We were all warriors out that that day, out to defeat those mountains in Roanoke.

I loved the Blue Ridge Marathon for so many reasons, and I will surely return.  A definite bucket list race that now holds a very special place in my heart.  Thank you to all of the race organizers, volunteers, police and the Roanoke community for coming out to support us that day.  It was an epic experience and a long lasting memory.