Overall Rating
Overall Rating (5 Reviews)
3.4
(5 Ratings)  (5 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
3.2
PRODUCTION
3.8
SWAG
3.8
Lace up your sneakers, grab your running partner and get motivated for Memphis in May’s newest event: the Great American River Run Half Marathon, 10K & 5K! A running event designed for all ages and skill levels, the Great American River Run hosts racers from all over the United States … MORE
Local Weather (May 28):
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H (°F) 82 80 92 89 80
L (°F) 65 65 73 70 63
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Recent reviews

    jgclark54 REPEAT RUNNER '21

    Great American River Run - Saturday, May 29. Half #189 is in the books! The Great American River Run in Memphis TN was the beginning of my three day trek … MORE

    Great American River Run – Saturday, May 29.
    Half #189 is in the books!
    The Great American River Run in Memphis TN was the beginning of my three day trek across a few states for Memorial Weekend races!
    First, let’s talk about the weather! Normally I would be talking about how hot Memphis has been for the last few years that I have run this race! Always in the 80s or 90s and humid! I look forward to this race even knowing that it is probably the hottest race I will do all year, just feeling like I am dying at the end! That’s just Memphis in May… except this year!
    For May 29th, the normal high is 86 and the normal low is 66, therefore, the high temperature Saturday was cooler than the normal overnight lows!
    This record low maximum temperature was due to overcast skies, breezy north winds and a cold front that came across the region during the night.
    So, yes… let’s talk about the weather! At the start time it was 55 and the high for the day was 61!! Amazingly, it was perfect running weather… in May!!
    Packet pick up was easily accessible with plenty of parking. The Expo was small with only a couple of vendors but it was nice to see vendors as the pandemic winds down!
    New for this year, the Start Line was on Beale Street, much more convenient than the old start location which had been by the River at Tom Lee Park. The new line was much better! Staging took place in a small park on Beale called Robert Church Park.
    The race had three start times for Covid Protocol… 6:15, 6:30 and 6:45am. I chose 6:15… the earlier the better! As in the past they also had a 5K but added a 10K this year.
    The course went down Beale St and after a few turns, we were on Riverside Drive and then back up into downtown and out 4th Street, passing several Memphis landmarks along the way: Mud Island, The Peabody Hotel and the Blues Museum.
    We also passed the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and now home of the National Civil Rights Museum. After that it was out through neighborhoods and past St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, always an impressive complex!
    Much like New Orleans and a few other cities, a popular attraction is the carriage rides in Memphis. Running through an industrial area, we passed the stables where many of the horses are kept.
    On the final 3 mile leg you cross a bridge back into downtown and by the Bass Pro Pyramid, once the home of the Memphis NBA team, the Raptors. Toward the end we would pass the FedEx Forum, new home of the Raptors.
    At the bridge, which was the 10 mile mark, you were timed going up the bridge to the apex. It is a competition inside the race. Those with the fastest ascent were crowned King and Queen of the Hill and got a prize of $500 each. No… I did not win! Yes, the race had hills but mostly in the downtown section (the first few miles, and the last few.)
    The race ended on Beale street with a nice after party in Handy Park. It is named for W. C. Handy, jazz and blues musician who some call the father of the Blues.
    At the park, there was a tent with a choice of pulled pork sandwich, chicken sandwich or hamburger… as well as a selection of goodies like chips, cookies, fruit, donuts, peanut butter crackers…plus beer!! Everyone had a good time!
    Overall, the race was well done. They had water stops about every mile that were manned by enthusiastic volunteers. Items included bottled water, Gatorade and rags in ice prepared for the usual hot weather!! But… most people just wanted a dry rag! The only negative I can really think of is that I did not think there was enough police support for traffic control. Some intersections were challenging.
    I have always enjoyed this race and this year was one of the best yet. It was great seeing some Memphis friends that I don’t get to see a lot, and some friends who traveled in from across the country. If you have never been, look at this charmer!! Great race in a Great town… might even see an Elvis or two!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
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    KirstensDad FIRST-TIMER '21

    There is about 500 ft of elevation gain with a bridge a little over 1/4 mile with a little over 4% grade. Not that hard, but it mostly flat as … MORE

    There is about 500 ft of elevation gain with a bridge a little over 1/4 mile with a little over 4% grade. Not that hard, but it mostly flat as the race claims.
    I pushed my handicap daughter . Good race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    Tobycarrig FIRST-TIMER '19

    I'll try not to whine about the weather but the highlight of this run comes at the finish line. In addition to a nice medal, the post-race event includes live … MORE

    I’ll try not to whine about the weather but the highlight of this run comes at the finish line.
    In addition to a nice medal, the post-race event includes live music and a food tent/buffet with pizza, boneless chicken, mini cheeseburger, barbecue slider, mini cupcakes, doughnut balls, pretzels and the usual suspects of apples, bananas and oranges plus free beer as well as water. It’s a nice post-race party.
    The Friday expo at a hall connected to the Peabody hotel was not much to write home about. In addition to registration and a race information booth, the vendors were services such as chiropractic, yoga, lasik surgery, etc. The swag was a toothbrush and Prairie Farms (dairy) treat in addition to the nice t-shirt.
    The half marathon started at 7 a.m., and while I know that is customary, I would not complain with a 6:30 or 6:45 start. It got warm (70s into the low 80s during the race) and the breeze and shady spots were quite welcome in the second half of the race.
    The first few miles through downtown, including Beale Street, were a lot of fun. There was a bottleneck in the first mile as two open lanes of roadway were funneled into one at the top of the first hill making a right turn. After the field thinned out, the course was well-marked with law enforcement and volunteers doing a good job at nearly all the intersections along the course.
    There were plenty of water/Powerade stations with many offering chilled wet towels.
    Other than volunteers, there weren’t too many people along the course. The heat may have been a factor. It ranges from downtown to residential to undeveloped before making the turn to roadway along the river. There were no misting stations along the course or even yard sprinklers set out (as I have seen at smaller races).
    The highlight of the closing miles is the King of the Hill run up a bridge just before the 11-mile mark. It was the only place I recall music being played, as an announcer encouraged runners to attack the hill and/or get a beer from water station at the start of the bridge. There was a $500 prize for the roughly 200-yard run with the top male doing it in 31 seconds.
    That climb, followed immediately by a downhill, and a couple early inclines weren’t too bad, and the rest of the course was flat or very gradual. It’s easy on the legs, but the heat was just a challenge with it being one of the first 90° days after a rather mild spring.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Tororuns REPEAT RUNNER '18

    It is a a humid, hot day so that didn't help. Very little to no shade either. They tied it into a big festival at the end but with no … MORE

    It is a a humid, hot day so that didn’t help. Very little to no shade either. They tied it into a big festival at the end but with no shade and beat up from running I fled. Course not bad, same typical downtown Memphis.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    mjmont REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Race conditions were less than ideal. A tornado went through town the night before, but I still think communication and logistics could have been more thought out. It seemed like … MORE

    Race conditions were less than ideal. A tornado went through town the night before, but I still think communication and logistics could have been more thought out. It seemed like there was no back-up plan. The start was delayed, communication was sporadic and largely unhelpful. The half and 5K ended up starting at the same time, which I know isn’t a big deal. But the beginning of a race is always so crowded and with the weather & extra runners, I wish they would’ve stuck to a staggered start for pacing sake. Things I liked: the course through downtown was awesome. The shirts were great! I LOVED the hype for King & Queen of the hill. As someone who doesn’t like hills, I ran the whole thing with all the excitement.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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