Running Tours Rock, Even in the Cold

Posted by Holly Whitfield | February 9th 2011 2088 0

Last night, as the sun was starting to set in Tom Lee Park, I was standing in the parking lot, talking to an energetic, young, tattooed guy in shorts. It was 28 degrees outside.

The guy was John Lintner, one of the owners of Rockin’ Running Tours. They give guided historical tours of Downtown and Midtown to people that want to exercise while they see the city.

Memphis Skyline on a Rockin' Running Tour

Two things you need to know before I get too far into this:

1. When I first started talking to the guys at Rockin’ Running Tours about this story, it was much, much warmer outside.

2. I’m not a runner. I’ll happily skate all day, but you won’t find me signing up for the St. Jude marathon anytime soon.

They offer three-mile and six-mile versions of the tour. The three mile version starts in Tom Lee Park and goes up to the Peabody, over to Beale, down South Main and back to Tom Lee Park. The six-mile tour goes out to Sun Studio and Victorian Village. Needless to say, I opted for the shorter version.

Getting my run on, Memphis, Tenn.

We started by jogging up the sets of stairs that go up the bluff. It wasn’t that difficult, just a little unpleasant with the wind blowing. While we ran along the bluff walk, John told me about the Battle of Memphis and the formation of Mud Island.

And then, it started to hurt.

Not my legs, mind you, but my lungs. The cold air felt like it was solidifying in my chest, burning my throat on the way down. My hoodie wasn’t doing anything to protect my ears from a windy beatdown. I had to ask John if we could switch from running to a fast walk. He was totally fine with it – while he’s an experienced runner, he always makes sure to go at a pace his clients were comfortable with.

We ran up the hill on Union Ave., past my office, towards the Peabody. We ran down Third to Beale, chatting about the history of Beale Street and the embarrassment of falling while giving a running tour. We went to the Orpheum, then down South Main, past Earnestine & Hazels and the Civil Rights Museum. We ran down Tennessee Street and came out in the park overlooking the river.

The whole thing took about an hour. Maybe it was the cold, or the fact that we were talking the whole time, but the distance seemed shorter than three miles.

Rockin' Running Tour Guides

John and Mel, my Rockin' Running Tour guides

Rockin’ Running Tours cost $25 per person for a three-mile tour (and $5 for each additional mile). They include a tour, t-shirt, photos (which are emailed to you afterwords) and a bottle of water and protein bar. Tours are given year-round.

To book a tour, contact Rockin’ Running Tours.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Virginia says:

    Way to go guys!! Glad to see you’re goin’ strong.

  2. Jenzi says:

    What a fantastic idea! One has to appreciate the original thinking from this guy. I love that people can see the history of our city with a healthy twist thrown in. Kudos!

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