Photo: Great American River Run

The Ultimate Guide to Running in Memphis

“It’s too cold to go outside and…” I’m going to stop you right there. Don’t let the “winter slump” prevent you from hitting the ground running (literally). Memphis is a city full of beautiful landscapes and natural trails that will have you wanting to ditch the treadmill and enjoy the fresh air.

Running doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some the top places to run in the 901 if you’re looking for a change in scenery or a new spot to prepare for those upcoming races: 

  1. Shelby Farms Park
  2. Shelby Farms Greenline
  3. Vollintine Evergreen Greenline
  4. Overton Park
  5. Wolf River Greenway Trail
  6. Riverwalk & Big River Crossing
  7. Harbor Town Island
  8. Meeman- Shelby Forest State Park
  9. T.O. Fuller State Park
  10. Or create your own route by exploring Downtown Memphis

If you are a beginner and need a couple of accountability buddies, join in on one of Memphis Runners Track Clubs or Breakaway Running’s free weekly group runs. If you want to do some socializing while you’re at it, check out Salty Dogs Running Group, Memphis Hash House Harriers, Black Men Run Memphis, and Black Girls Run Memphis. You can also check out Crosstown Running Crew for a casual monthly running meetup. 

Now that you know where to run and have pals to run with, it’s time to get you set up with the proper gear. Unless you plan on getting shin splints from those worn out Converse you call “running shoes,” we suggest making your way to Memphis Fleet Feet Sports or Breakaway Running to pick up the perfect fit. 

You’ve got your gear and you’re all trained up. Why not challenge yourself by competing in a race? Memphis has a ton of them throughout the year and many of them are linked to local philanthropic efforts. Here are some great upcoming races to register for in 2020. And if you decide running just isn’t your forte, you can always consider simply donating to the race charities anyway.   

  • 10th Annual Humane Society Fast & Furriest 5k (3/21) – Why not run and get to see some furry friends along the way?
  • Big Buffalo 50 (3/21) – 50 miles? That sounds like a lot, but good luck to you all.
  • Wolf River Greenway 5k (3/28) – Running this race will help the little runners of Memphis Rise Academy be able to run all the races.
  • Sista Strut (4/4) – Sista Strut aims to heighten awareness about the issues of breast cancer in women of color.
  • Memphis Big BBQ Half Marathon (4/11) – You’re gonna be hungry after you run, and conveniently there’ll be plenty of BBQ on deck.
  • 2020 Bad Dog 5K/10K (4/25) – It’s called Bad Dog because “Bad Dog” was a lifelong Memphian who spent over 20 years of his radio career working to support Ronald McDonald House.
  • Great American River Run (5/23) – Take a run by Downtown Memphis’ most beautiful route and listen to live music along the way. 
  • 2020 Breakaway Bardog 5K (8/16) – The greatest reward after a long run is a block party turn up with your pals.
  • Round the Mound: 5k Costume Run (8/31) – This is one of the few times you can take a run through the first African American neighborhood in Memphis disguised as chicken or a cow. 
  • St. Jude Marathon Weekend (12/5)- No worries, you don’t have to run the marathon. You can enter the 5k, 10k, or half marathon if you feel like you still haven’t mastered this whole running thing.

We’ll keep adding to this list as the year goes on. If we missed your favorite race or trail, let us know in the comments!

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