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St. Jude Memphis Marathon Reviews
4.6 Stars from
One of the Best!
By AV819 about 2017
The weather was great, the spectators are excellent and frequent, the run through St Jude's campus will leave you inspired, and the food at the end is plentiful (and included beer)! This is the most welcoming city that lives its marathoners, and you will hear a 'thank you' everywhere you go. Aid stations aplenty and packed with enthusiastic volunteers. The police are everywhere helping at intersections. What an outpouring, and it makes the event amazing.
The hills are minimal. There are enough shady spots on the course that the weather stays ok even as the sun warms up.
If you stay at one of the recommended downtown hotels, you will easily be able to walk to/Friday m the packet expo, start, and finish.
Great Charity Race
By TC about 2017
The crowd support is the highlight of this race. The people of Memphis are clearly very proud of St. Jude's, justifiably so. I heard many comments from locals about how wonderful the hospital is and how grateful they are to have it as part of their community.
The thing that needs to be clear if you're planning to enter this race is that the main purpose is to raise money for the hospital. In fact, it is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the hospital. Importantly, St. Jude's does not send bills to families, so they rely on external funding to keep the hospital running. Once you register, you receive frequent (1-2/week) emails from the race about fundraising. Fast times and catering to people who are vying for BQs, PRs, or age group awards is a secondary (or tertiary) consideration.
The Expo continues to play up the fundraising nature of the event. After you get your bib and race packet, the first room you enter has St. Jude's marathon related swag. Only after you've paid, do you enter the rest of the Expo where more typical race vendors are present.
I was pretty disappointed that they ran out of safety pins at the expo. How is that even possible? Not surprisingly, the surrounding convenience stores were also sold out of safety pins. This was just one more sign that the race was secondary consideration to the fund raising.
Make sure you line up early to get into the correct corral. The corrals were jam packed and virtually impossible to move forward. Strangely, there were a large number of people trying to move from the front corrals to ones further back. I've never seen this before.
For much of the race, you are limited to one road lane and you're packed in. Specifically, despite running on a 4 lane road, two lanes remained open to vehicular traffic and one lane was closed to provide a buffer between runners and cars. This leaves one lane for runners, which isn't a big deal at mile 10, but at mile 1 you're shoulder to shoulder with other runners with no hope of passing. Again, if you're in the correct corral, it's probably fine. If you have problems going out too fast, you'll be forced to reign it in. However, it you're not in the correct corral, you'll find yourself trapped with no help of moving up where you need to be.
The other tight spot on the course is the finish where you run 50 meters or so through a chute onto the Memphis Redbirds baseball field. Again, if it were just marathoners, it probably would be fine, but you end up getting trapped behind half-marathon walkers who are there for fund raising or to cross an item off their bucket list and are walking 4+ across and impeding the flow of traffic.
Some people try to down play the hills on the course. It's hilly, make no mistake about it.
The weather was absolutely fantastic. 40F at the start and 60F at the finish.
There are plenty of downtown hotels that are within easy walking distance to the start/finish. Book really early, because they do fill up. Our hotel had a sign posted at the front desk that said you are staying in the entertainment/sports district so expect loud noise coming from the street until wee hours of the morning. I suspect this is true most weekends other than marathon weekend. There was a lot of noise coming from the street until Friday at 10 PM or so, but things were quite after that. I didn't notice any significant noise Saturday night either. I suspect that on Friday, most people staying downtown are going to bed early and on Saturday, they are too tired from their race to go out and party too much.
-Too much emphasis on fund raising
-Does not cater to faster runners
-Book your hotel early
-Line up early
Overall, it was an ok experience, but as someone vying for age group awards, I won't likely be back.
Some rolling hills, but not too tough of a course
By MHA about 2016
Excellent energy from the crowd and other racers. Great cool weather. Some rolling hills, but not too tough of a course.
Peabody Hotel is right at the start and finish line, so an excellent choice
By DY about 2016
I thought it was well organized and supported. The spectators were amazing and it is to benefit a great cause.
The Nuun energy drink supplied at the aid stations immediately caused me GI distress and I shouldn't have taken any since I've never used it before. Most races have Gatorade or Poweraide and this is what I train with. I think this was a poor choice by the race organizers.
I have nothing but praise for how this event was organized and ran. I was in the 2nd corral, so I got to start very close to race time. There were 3 minutes between the start of each corral and I would have not liked being farther back and thus waiting a long time to start. The pacing group I was in (3:10) was spot on through 19, when I had to start slowing d/t GI distress.
By RJ about 2015
Great crowd support and atmosphere. Great weather with rolling hills. Good post race food.
Run as a St. Jude hero for a rock star experience.
By TJS about 2012
Great course for an even better cause. Running through the St. Jude campus during mile 5 was AMAZING!! The crowd support was great and there were aid stations every mile. I will definitely be back to this one!
The course has some small rolling hills but nothing too bad. The last 6 miles are more downhill. This is a great course to PR on!