Guide To The 2018 Memphis St. Jude Marathon

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 29th 2018 13609 0

This Saturday (December 1, 2018), 25,000+ runners from all over the world will descend upon our fair city for the annual Memphis St. Jude Marathon, half marathon, 10K, and more.

Before I get to the info, let me personally invite you to the I Love Memphis Cheer Section at Mile 15. 

I Love Memphis Cheer Section – MILE 15

  • come to North Parkway and McLean
  • park on University Street
  • avoid N. Parkway
  • 9 a.m. to noon or later (you can come and go)
  • free shirt if you register here
  • I’ll have snacks, posters, music
  • just bring yourself and enthusiasm for the runners

This guide has basic info on routes, traffic delays, times, weather, cheering section and general info. I’d suggest you also read the following posts, all updated for 2018.

13 Places To Carb Load In Memphis
Attention Runners: St. Jude Marathoner Discounts & Deals
You’re Invited! 2018 ILM Blog Cheering Section

If you plan to run on Saturday, you’re not just helping St. Jude in their mission of medical research and treatment of sick kids, but you’re also a kick-ass athlete. Go you.


Here’s what you need to know.

– At 7 a.m., the 5K and 10K start at AutoZone Park.

– At 8 a.m., the half and full marathons start at FedExForum.

– The race route meanders through downtown and parts of midtown. The finish line is at AutoZone Park. If you live or work downtown, or the north of Poplar in midtown, you will have traffic delays and road blockages. That may overflow into other areas. It’s OK. You’ll wait a few minutes and it’s all for a great, great cause.

Below is the full St. Jude Memphis marathon course map. See the other maps here. Note that this year, it’s not going through Central Gardens or Cooper Young.

– If you’re getting downtown for the race start, St. Jude says get there before 6:30 a.m. to avoid road closures. Parking map here. Leaving afterwards (especially before 10 a.m.) will be difficult. St. Jude advises taking Jefferson Ave. to access downtown before the race and Jackson Ave. afterwards. If it’s after 10 a.m., leave from the South, via Crump.

– Speaking from experience, Jackson – and plenty of other roads – can get bumper-to-bumper backed up at points. It’s hard to say when and where traffic will be backed up or blocked. You can attempt to decipher this list of road closures.

– Honestly, though, put yourself through any of this nonsense? After the race, just hang around downtown, get some lunch, have a beer, and relax until some of the traffic dissipates.

– You can access a map marked with parking locations here.

– St. Jude usually says talk to the MPD if you need specific info about road closures, but I also found this enormous list.

– If you’re getting dropped off in the morning for the race, recommended drop-off points are at the Tennessee Welcome Center at 80 Riverside Drive, or at 555 Beale Street.

– But listen: it will be hard to get around all morning and afternoon in the Midtown/Downtown area. Prepare yourself accordingly. We all know this is happening well in advance. They even have the race dates set three years in advance. Get comfortable and cheer, relax, and take it all in.


– This year, I Love Memphis will go all out again to support the Memphis St. Jude Marathon on December 1. We will post up at Mile 15 (North Parkway and McLean, around the corner from Cafe Eclectic) from 9 a.m. until noon or later. Sign up ahead of time and get a t-shirt.

PLEASE join me. Even if you can only stay for a half-hour. The runners need our support.

– I will be there for at least 3.5 hours, but you don’t have to! You can come and go, traffic willing to fit your schedule. Go here and here for more details.

Here are a few comments from actual runners regarding the cheer section:

“I’m coming to Memphis for the first time ever. I’ll be running for St Jude in the marathon. These posters will be fun to see! Thanks for doing this!”
– Patrick O.

“Thanks so much for the support! … and perfect location – there’s not a lot of support near there and those last miles are when you need it most.”
– Keshia W.


– Some of the people running in Saturday’s races are St. Jude Heroes. These are people who have raised money for St. Jude during their training through donations. In 2012, 4,200 Heroes raised $3 million for the hospital.

– As of today, Thursday, November 29, it looks like some rain early in the morning, but clearing up by mid-morning. If you’re cheering…just wear a jacket or raincoat. The rain will not melt you, I promise. Trust me, it’s way better than a few years ago when everyone froze nearly to death, or several years back when they had to cancel the marathon because of ice.

– It’s too late to register for the races, but I highly recommend getting up early and parking yourself along the race route to cheer on the runners. Take a look at the race route, or if you can, join me at Mile 15.

Finally, read my post from last year with 13 Places To Carb Load for the St. Jude Marathon (or Anytime). Check it out if you’re running one of the races, or if you’re just a normal human person who likes carbs.


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. David Lowes says:

    The Brass Door at 152 Madison will be open from 6:30am for a pre-race bag drop and free coffee for runners. Good luck everyone!

  2. Karen Manning says:

    I have been to your beautiful city and enjoyed my stay. While there we visited Graceland . That was a weekend trip. Love Elvis Presley’s music !!!! I saw him in concert in Knoxville, Tn. And it was one of thebest concerts .

Leave a Comment