ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Around 2,000 people came out to the Blue Ridge Marathon last year. Peppered in the crowds, was a seasoned marathon runner but here for the first time.
"It was devastating. I was crushed last year," Chuck Engle recalls.
Chuck Engle calls himself the "Marathon Junkie," with hundreds of races behind him, he says America's Toughest Road Race lived up to its name.
"I made a big difference in my training program from last year. Not just for the distance. But the hills beating up last year. I do 58 of these a year so I took a couple months off after this after this race. It was difficult," Engle says.
Engle says he changed up his training ahead of this weekend's marathon since he's going for the dual marathon, running the course twice Saturday morning. And organizers say they're seeing more determined runners than ever before.
"We wanted hours to be a bucket list marathon for a different reason. And that's what let us down the path of America's toughest Road marathon. We want to have a challenge," Organizer Pete Eshleman says.
Sign-ups are about eight to 10 percent higher than last year's number.
Engle says he's ready for the challenge.
"I'm very fortunate. Having the training background that I do, they can throw anything of us tomorrow. I'm hoping to be ready," Engle says.
And Engle says he's going to let the mountain take him out this time. He's already got another marathon on the schedule next weekend.