Throwback Thursday: Revisiting a Rant

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I do not usually post Throwback Thursdays pictures or statuses on social media, but today a post of mine was received some traffic that sparked an interest in me to revisit the issue.  Last March, I wrote a post complaining about Memphis not getting any national obstacle races and having a shortage of distance races.  I guess someone listened because 2014 is a much more promising year for the Bluff City.  While not landing one of the big three obstacle course events (Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, or Warrior Dash), Foam Fest will be coming to town in May.  Of course, as of today, I am not registered for that event, so I may be a part of the problem, but at least it is a local option.  There are also two new half marathon/marathon events this season in Memphis, both of the trail variety.  One is at Shelby Forrest in two weeks and the other is at Stanky Creek during the first weekend of March.  Promotion has been slight for both events, but hopefully the organization has not been.  I will probably run the latter of the two events, provided that it does not sell out before I get a chance to register.  Also, the Navy Ten Nautical Miler has been reinstated for 2014, and of course, I still can not participate in it this year.  It is slated for Sunday, June 8, which is the day after my running of the Tough Mudder event in Nashville.  Whereas I could work both events into my calendar, I am very wary of running these events on back to back days in the June heat in Tennessee.  Battered and bruised from Tough Mudder and then fighting heat and humidity may not be the most fun I have ever had at a race.  Maybe my running of the Spartan Sprint this weekend will reduce some of this trepidation.

Memphis

Memphis

On a side note, of the national races that I mentioned on my prior post, one, Tap ‘N Run, came to Memphis in October 2013 (great premise that was spoiled by an unseasonably warm day), and two, Hero Rush and Run For Your Lives, are now defunct.  From what I read, the two race series that folded were popular, but had some financial issues that led to their demise.  You can surely Google each race and get the full story, or click here for my take on what happened with Run For Your Lives (Note: the new race is no longer coming to Memphis).

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Get Off Your Ass Memphis

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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.