365 Things to Do in Memphis #279: Run in (or Cheer On) the St. Jude Marathon
The first weekend in December means one thing in Memphis: it's marathon time. Assignment #279 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to run in (or cheer on those running in) the St. Jude Memphis Marathon and half marathon.
Every year, the marathon brings more than 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 49 countries to Memphis for the weekend. It has about a $5 million economic impact on the city, and it rasies millions of dollars for St. Jude.
If you're running in the marathon, half marathon, congratulations. You're helping out St. Jude's world class research and pediatric care, and you're a much better athlete than most of us will ever be.
If you're not running, there are still a few things you need to know before marathon Saturday is upon us:
– Most importantly: expect traffic delays, especially if you live anywhere in Midtown or Downtown. The race is usually over by 3 p.m. or so, so if you live near the route, my suggestion is that you not try to leave your house by car on Saturday morning.
– If you have to go to work downtown, give yourself tons of extra time, not only to get downtown, but also to find parking and then walk to work. Hint: look on the north and south edges of downtown for free street parking. Or, if you can, take the Madison Ave. trolley to work, then get a ride home at night.
– Cheering is welcome. There are some official cheering stations manned by local organizations along the route, but plenty of impromptu guerilla stations pop up wherever there's a sidewalk. Bring signs, dress crazy, bring a boom box and yell encouraging things to support the runners. It may be a little chilly, but they probably can't feel their legs anymore. It's the least you can do.
– The current records for the fastest St. Jude Marathon times are held by Kessahun Kabiso (men's), who finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 48 seconds and Maria Cleofe Portilca (women's), who finished in 2 hours, 37 minutes and 10 seconds.
– Lastly, if you're not running, but know someone who's running as a St. Jude Hero, don't forget to give them a little donation. The Heroes run as fundraisers for St. Jude (last year, they raised more than $3 million).
Saturday, Dec. 1
8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Start: FedExForum, Finish: AutoZone Park