So while putting together my race itinerary for this year, I noticed a shortage of fun and inventive races in this area. Memphis cannot or refuses to get Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Hero Rush, Tap ‘N Run, Ragnar Relay, Run For Your Lives, Foam Fest, or any of the numerous other national themed races. These races will all come to Nashville, some will come to Little Rock, AR and Jackson, MS, and some won’t come within 200 miles of the city. And my question is why? Memphis has venues for these events and I’m certain people chomping at the bit to participate. It gets quite expensive and annoying to drive seven or eight hours round trip to run a race. Now I don’t expect to get every race (like Nashville seems to), but at least a couple of them. I am not sure what has to happen to land an event, but Memphis should explore the procedures. Tough Mudder and Spartan Race are not coming to the Volunteer State this, or any year, so it would be very encouraging to snag one of these events next year. Also, getting the Navy Ten Nautical Miler back next June would also be very good news.
Furthermore, there is a complete lack of distance races in this town. From online searches, you find five half marathons within fifty miles of Memphis, and one of those five may not be happening this year. Conversely, there are eleven half marathons within fifty miles of Nashville, twelve to Chattanooga, ten to Knoxville, and even seven for Huntsville, AL! If there were 100 races here, the St Jude Marathon and Half Marathon would still sellout every year. It is a great event, for a great cause, so if that is a part of the reasoning, then it should be ignored. I know that we are a city that prides itself on BBQ and quality southern cuisine, but that should not deter us from hosting some premier races.
I’ll get off of my soapbox here, it just is quite frustrating that Memphis has such shortcomings in this area. The Greenline was a great move in getting healthier, as are the bicycle lanes in Midtown. It would be great to continue to improve in this area. I can only hope.