Overall Rating
Overall Rating (16 Reviews)
3.4
(16 Ratings)(16 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.6
SCENERY
2.9
PRODUCTION
2.7
SWAG
2.9
The Mississippi Blues Marathon will take place in downtown Jackson, Mississippi’s capital city. With live music before, after, and throughout the course, the Mississippi Blues Marathon proves to be one-of-a-kind. Since our inaugural race in 2008, our event has worked to showcase Jackson and the rich Blues history of the … MORE
Local Weather (Feb 29)
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H (°F) 68 68 80 71 59
L (°F) 56 56 57 50 49
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Recent reviews

    ChuckWalker REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Hilly course - rated @ 950’, my Garmin said 1,250’. Streets varied in conditions with some quite potholed. First full year under PEM, lots of room for improvement: Too few … MORE

    Hilly course – rated @ 950’, my Garmin said 1,250’. Streets varied in conditions with some quite potholed.
    First full year under PEM, lots of room for improvement:
    Too few water stops – 2.5 mi.; 5.0 mi. ; 8.3 mi., but better in second half although several were set up by residents.
    Very little local business involvement compared to past years, e.g. NO coupons in swag bag.
    Little music on course compared to past years.
    Post-race food was a joke – bananas & granola bars. Past years had pizza, chocolate milk, beans & rice, etc.
    They did have nutrition at several of the water stops 👍.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    1

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    TrudyF FIRST-TIMER '19

    This races has been on my bucket list. Past reviews made it seem fun. Not so anymore. The expo, spooky small. There was maybe 9-10 booths. So don’t count on … MORE

    This races has been on my bucket list. Past reviews made it seem fun. Not so anymore. The expo, spooky small. There was maybe 9-10 booths. So don’t count on buying anything at the expo for your race. The race it’s self, hilly. Each hill alone wasn’t hard, but put them all together and they taxed the legs. Road conditions are not great, uneven, crumbling, pot holes, etc. the good thing is that the race spreads out and isn’t crowded so you can see obstacles. Also, runners travel down busy roads and or cross busy intersection. Very few h2o stops. Only two bands.
    Post race. What post race? The medal was ok, but insignificant compared to past years. Standard boring food at the end. Woo-who? Bananas, granola bars? This isn’t special. All in all, the race wasn’t bad, just not what it use to be and fell flat in my expectations.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    1

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    erikxadams FIRST-TIMER '19

    The volunteers, police and EMS support were awesome. Race organizers need to do a better job. Aid stations were not where they said they were going to be and some … MORE

    The volunteers, police and EMS support were awesome. Race organizers need to do a better job. Aid stations were not where they said they were going to be and some where not there at all.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    1

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    kelliott FIRST-TIMER '19

    Totally disappointed in this race. Since this was an out-of-state race for us I researched this race thoroughly before signing up. The history of and promise of an abundance of … MORE

    Totally disappointed in this race. Since this was an out-of-state race for us I researched this race thoroughly before signing up. The history of and promise of an abundance of bands and crowd support is why I signed up. Neither of these panned out. No crowd support except for the great volunteers at the water stations THANK YOU and some well spirited people in random neighborhoods that had their own variety of treats out (the donut was wonderful – as was the fireball shot). There were only 3 bands on the course and they were ill placed. I felt sorry for the band stuck out by the interstate – no visibility and you could hardly hear them. I’ve run 21 half-marathons and this is the first one where runners had to stop at intersections for traffic – that was a mess – and dangerous with a mixture of police and volunteers directing traffic. It’s also the first half-marathon I’ve run where the marathon, half-marathon and 5k (plus walker/strollers) all start at the same time. Due to long port-a-potty lines I was in the back and lost a good 5 minutes getting around all the “walkers”. The course itself was nothing exceptional but I did like the mixture and downtown and residential running. The access roads by the interstate were just boring though. I did not feel it was overly hilly – compared to Tennessee or North Alabama. Postrace food was a bag of pretzels, 1 energy bar and 1 banana – usually what you get a 5k race. No bands or awards ceremony. Not impressed with the medal – it’s one of the smaller ones I’ve gotten lately and pretty boring. When you registered the website said you were getting a race shirt & tote bag (marathon & half-marathon) and a music cd for the 5k runners. But there were no tote bags or cd’s. When asked we were told it was a funding issue. (But these items were still listed on the website as part of your registration fee up until race day.) We heard that this race was bought out by a company in Louisiana. Maybe that’s why it’s lost so much support – why would locals want to support an out-of- state company instead of keeping it local? We tried Jackson, MS but this was a one and done.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    1

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    Evwatkins REPEAT RUNNER '19

    First let me say that I live 90 minutes from Jackson and have run the Blues Marathon/Half 6 times: the half once, then the marathon 5 times as a pacer … MORE

    First let me say that I live 90 minutes from Jackson and have run the Blues Marathon/Half 6 times: the half once, then the marathon 5 times as a pacer (I was also supposed to run in 2017, but the ice storm caused the cancellation that year.) This was my 69th marathon.
    The Blues marathon has definitely gone a bit downhill from its Jon Noblin & Blue Cross Blue Shield of MS days.
    COURSE: There’s nothing good to say about the road conditions in Jackson. They are horrible. That’s been the case for 10+ years. The city is very slowly trying to work on them. The course starts/finishes in downtown near the convention center/capital area. Small parts of the course have changed here and there over the years but for the most part, it hasn’t changed much in 7 years. You run through some beautiful neighborhoods (Eastover, Belhaven), then through Fondren and the hospital area, and along Frontage roads. It’s not a terrible course, but there is a healthy amount of hills. It’s not easy, but it’s not the hardest race I’ve ever run (My PR was on once on this course.)
    NEW MANAGEMENT: In 2017 (after the 10th anniversary race was cancelled), the sponsor contract expired and was not renewed (Blue Cross). The Race Director searched and searched for a new sponsor and finally found one later in the year. The RD was involved in 2018 but the race was also sold to an out-of-town event management company (PEM). Attendance was down because of late starts to registration and other factors, but the 2018 race was successful. This year’s race was managed 100% by PEM. There were several communication issues (not answering emails, the pace team being set up at the last minute, volunteer coordinator changes which led to a lack of volunteers) and a lack of funds to keep the race at the level that it had been in the past.
    AID STATIONS/RACE SUPPORT: There was a noticeable lack of volunteers and aid stations this year. I do want to point out that those volunteers/law enforcement that were there were AMAZING!! In years past, the roads and neighborhoods were filled with volunteers and people cheering! It was nearly impossible to get lost or even go without seeing a volunteer, band or spectator within eyesight. There were Bands everywhere. The JSU band and dance teams would be out at several places along the course! There were large stages set up along the road with full bands playing and a big crowd of spectators dancing and cheering.
    This year: Race signage was sparse. Most neighborhoods were empty. The JSU section of the course was a ghost town! Several aid stations had just a few people at them (in the past, there would be 20-30 people cheering and handing out aid!) We passed intersections with 1 person responsible for stopping both lanes of busy traffic. There were some volunteers who had brought water jugs and cups and were filling bottles for runners at random places. In fact, at mile 8.5 of the marathon, we came upon an aid station that had not been set up yet (I was the 5:00 pacer, so this was 90 minutes into the race – more than half the marathon field had already passed this area). The tables were on the ground, boxes and water jugs stacked up, coolers empty. No one was around. At this point, we had only seen 2 other official aid stations. We (me, my friend and a few in our pace group) pulled the water jugs and cups to the street so others behind us could at least self-serve and fill their bottles.
    FINISH LINE: In years past, there was a HUGE tent at the finish with Pizza, gumbo, and lots of other hot food choices. This year there was water, bananas, pretzels, granola bars and the beer trailer. That’s it. The medals in the past have always been notable and unique each year. This year, they were still customized, but small and unimpressive.
    BOTTOM LINE: If you’ve had this race on your bucket list for a while, you may have missed the hype. It’s definitely dropped several slots on the list of best races in MS. This race is NOT living up to the reputation it built in the past. The 2020 race is already open for registration. They have moved the date to February and the site claims to have a new course, so we’ll see what that brings, but forgive me if I’m not optimistic yet. PEM has some work to do to regain the reputation that John Noblin built. John, your absence was definitely noticed this year.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    lchristensen44 FIRST-TIMER '19

    The expo was small but had a good mix of necessities and accessories. The v-neck tech shirt was nice enough that I will wear it again. All races start together … MORE

    The expo was small but had a good mix of necessities and accessories. The v-neck tech shirt was nice enough that I will wear it again. All races start together after a blues guitar solo of the national anthem.

    In the first few miles be mindful of some of the road conditions. The course went through a brick portion of a prettt campus before looping back through the starting area. We ran through some very affluent houses and then on a closed portion of a highway before going uphill before heading back into the downtown area finish. Families near the end had water, beer and donut stops to cheer the runners. The course ended at an art museum which graciously was open to go inside from the cold and offer real restrooms. There was free beer at the end but only a pretzels, bananas and chewy protein bars at the end. The medal was a cute little guitar.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    42kStraley FIRST-TIMER '19

    This is a good race to run in Mississippi. The downtown area is easy to negotiate with plenty of parking. The city waives parking at all metered slots. I really … MORE

    This is a good race to run in Mississippi. The downtown area is easy to negotiate with plenty of parking. The city waives parking at all metered slots. I really enjoyed the Hilton Garden Hotel known to locals as The King George. The Blues Marathon offers a unique medal and nice runner’s shirts. The course is very hilly and you really have to watch your step for potholes, cracks, uneven surfaces and all kinds of things to trip over. A man behind me skuffed the ground and fell. I wore bright colors because the course occasionally went through traffic.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Tororuns REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Great weather for the race so spectators came out too. It's a very hilly race. But I pace the 2:30 Half so it was enjoyable. Bling nice. But the roads … MORE

    Great weather for the race so spectators came out too. It’s a very hilly race. But I pace the 2:30 Half so it was enjoyable. Bling nice. But the roads have always been a mess with potholes and gravel in places. Jackson can’t seem to shake that reputation. But I’ll be back to pace next year on Feb. 29. New date. so maybe even better weather.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Tororuns REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Repeat pacing assignment. (5th time) Hilly course. But the downhills gives a change to recover & stay on pace. Chilly weather but great running weather. Ok crowd support. Nice aid … MORE

    Repeat pacing assignment. (5th time) Hilly course. But the downhills gives a change to recover & stay on pace. Chilly weather but great running weather. Ok crowd support. Nice aid stations. After party wouldn’t allow us halfers chocolate milk. It was for full. Really? But will pace again next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Evwatkins REPEAT RUNNER '16

    I'm a regular pacer for this race. I've completed this race 4 times (2016 would've been my 5th time had it not been cancelled) and the half once. It's a … MORE

    I’m a regular pacer for this race. I’ve completed this race 4 times (2016 would’ve been my 5th time had it not been cancelled) and the half once. It’s a great race for those completing 50 states. You can now double it with Big Beach marathon or if you’re brave – Miami Marathon. I’ve doubled it three times with First Light in Mobile – however the Blues date was changed for 2018 and now it doubles with Big Beach.
    The course is a bit tough – not the hills but the road conditions. Jackson is known for having horrible roads.
    I planned to pace the 2018 race but was injured.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    sletou01 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The volunteers in Jackson were out standing. Thanking us for running the marathon and visiting Jackson. Prepare for hills! Not huge hills but quite a few. It rained nearly the … MORE

    The volunteers in Jackson were out standing. Thanking us for running the marathon and visiting Jackson.

    Prepare for hills! Not huge hills but quite a few. It rained nearly the entire race. Spectator were sparse.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '18

    I was signed up to run the 2017 race, which was cancelled due to the weather. It was a good (though I'm sure tough) decision made by the Race Director--the … MORE

    I was signed up to run the 2017 race, which was cancelled due to the weather. It was a good (though I’m sure tough) decision made by the Race Director–the roads were incredibly icy and unsafe to run. The team did a good job of providing options to those of us signed up for 2017.

    A new sponsor–Continental–took over this year. I’m glad that the organizers were able to carry on the race. Even though I didn’t get to run last year, I was able to see the finisher jacket and HUGE medal, so I was disappointed this year with the basic white race shirt (long sleeve, though) and a tiny medal.

    EXPO: Located in the host hotel, which is convenient if you are staying there. They had live music, which was a bit much for such a small space (hard to hear anyone!).

    RACES: There are multiple races that all start at the same time: Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay, Quarter Note, and 5k. The course starts to thin out as each of the shorter distance groups peeled off [some of the distances seemed off–especially the 5k which was definitely closer to 3.5 or more]. The course was narrow at many points, made even more narrow by the rain which caused large puddles everywhere. The Jackson, MS roads have lots of potholes, which filled up with the rain water. The course wasn’t closed to traffic. At parts, there really wasn’t an obvious path for the runners, we just had to hope that the cars would slow and go around us.

    I didn’t have a car, but it would have helped to have one. There aren’t a lot of restaurant options for pre-race pasta near the hotels.

    I realize the review above slants negative, which is not the intention! Anyone looking to run the 50 states, I would still recommend this race for Mississippi.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 28, 2018 at 9:53pm

    Congrats Drew! And nice job on those hills. Rain notwithstanding, glad you were able to cross off Mississippi, though disappointed to hear the medal has shrunk, since that’s been one of the race’s calling cards and star attractions for years. But in the end a medal is a medal, and 26.2 miles always counts the same. And how appropriate that Mississippi on your map is now colored a nice shade of... blue 😊.

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    lap9197 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This event was cancelled due to an ice storm. Everyone looking at the conditions should have known the race was going to be cancelled yet there were many complaints about … MORE

    This event was cancelled due to an ice storm. Everyone looking at the conditions should have known the race was going to be cancelled yet there were many complaints about how late they waited. They allowed runners to still have their swag and some even picked up their medals. (why I’m not sure, they didn’t run the race.) Anyway, the discount for 2018 I do not feel was enough as I’m sure they will be able to recoup most, if not all, of their loss through insurance claims. I feel they did a lot to accommodate for the cancellation however as a runner who had to travel and will not be able to recoup the money spent on airfare, hotel and rental car only giving a 25% reduction in next year’s entry fee was not enough. All of the people I had to deal with at the event to help stranded friends were all very helpful! Rock ‘n Roll stepping up to offer free races was nice but doesn’t help if you still have to travel at the last minute. Please don’t see this as a negative review because I will most likely sign up for this again next year, I just don’t think the end product was a great solution for all traveling runners.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    5

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '16

    I loved this run. The course was challenging. Lots of rolling hills, nothing big, just several of them from the beginning to end. Definitely needed to keep an eye on … MORE

    I loved this run. The course was challenging. Lots of rolling hills, nothing big, just several of them from the beginning to end. Definitely needed to keep an eye on the road, as parts of the challenge of the course was dodging pot holes. But running through the neighborhoods, the spectators along the way, the perfect weather made the marathon perfect. Because I was running again on Sunday, I took off slowly, ran an even pace, and barely slowed down the last few miles.
    The expo was fairly small. There were items to buy, but getting through the expo took but a couple of minutes.
    Water and fuel stops along the way was amazing. It literally felt like there was a stop every mile in the last 10 miles. Definitely no need to carry water or fuel, unless you absolutely needed something special.
    The only complaint might be, they had a bus that took you from Jackson to Mobile, Alabama shortly after the marathon. Nobody at the expo seemed to know anything about the bus, what time it left, or where it picked you up at. I was able to get online and get the needed information, which was clearly explained, but was surprised that there was not a booth at the expo.
    One other concern. Do not pick a hotel based on distance from start and finish line as stated on the marathon website. My hotel was supposed to be 0.4 miles from start and finish. Turns out, a few years ago the course changed, yet they never updated the mile posted on the website. I was just over 1.5 miles from start and finish and walking back to the hotel after the run was a long haul. Nonetheless, this is a very well run marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    bioprofsd FIRST-TIMER '16

    I have to admit that because of the short time that I had available as a result of my flight, I wasn't able to fully appreciate all of the festivities … MORE

    I have to admit that because of the short time that I had available as a result of my flight, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate all of the festivities associated with this marathon. The course was basically one continuous figure eight, with rolling hills most all of the way. I was disappointed that there weren’t more bands along the course, but the heavy rain may have had something to do with this. The course went through some very nice, upper-income neighborhoods, with huge mansions and beautifully manicured yards. You couldn’t ask for nicer bling and finisher medals. All in all, I would do it again if I had the chance.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '14

    BOTTOM LINE: If you’re a 50 States runner or are simply looking for a low-key, well organized road marathon that appreciates its runners, then you’ve gotta get to the Magnolia … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: If you’re a 50 States runner or are simply looking for a low-key, well organized road marathon that appreciates its runners, then you’ve gotta get to the Magnolia State for the Mississippi Blues Marathon. With its frequent turns and rolling profile the course isn’t necessarily PR-friendly, but it does offer an unrivaled opportunity to see Mississippi’s capital city up close and personal. Climate-wise, the state is tough to beat as a winter running destination. And if you’re a musician, the medal alone is almost worth the trip.

    PRODUCTION: Aside from eating crunchy yogurt for breakfast on Saturday (through no fault of the organizers), my race weekend in Jackson went off without a hitch. Communication leading up to race weekend was minimal but sufficient, and the pre-race expo was small with just a handful of vendors. The post-race party in the Art Garden was similarly low-key; food choices could have been more diverse, but I was perfectly happy snacking on bananas and chocolate milk to supplement the trail mix we’d brought with us.

    Race volunteers are typically among the most patient and friendly people you’ll meet anywhere. But the volunteers in Mississippi were a cut above in terms of friendliness, seemingly always smiling and taking every chance to thank the runners for coming to Jackson.

    Other than the people, thoughtful race swag set this race apart. In addition to the eye-catching, core-strengthening finishers medal, each race goodie bag contained a Hohner harmonica and a “Made in Mississippi” CD featuring music of the Mississippi Blues Marathon (including the appropriately titled track, “Done Got Tired of Tryin’ ”). And rather than a race t-shirt, all runners received a long-sleeve black microfleece with the race logo emblazoned on the left lapel, and with a zipper that quickly broke. [UPDATE (Jan. 31, 2014): A huge thumbs-up for Race Director John Noblin – all Mississippi Blues runners today received an email saying he’d heard our feedback and would be replacing “all of the shirts that have bad zippers”. As a runner, you can’t ask for a more committed and responsive RD than that… thanks, John!]

    One suggestion for future races would be to have MUCH larger labels for each handheld pace group sign. Our 3:45 pacer (Pacer Bob) did a great job, but whenever he got more than about fifteen feet ahead of me, I needed binoculars to read the time on his pace group sign.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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  1. Races
  2. Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon