Cooper Young 4-Miler
Every September, the Cooper Young neighborhood hosts the Cooper Young Festival, a huge one-day outdoor festival which draws 100,000+ people and 400+ vendors to the little intersection of Cooper and Young. It’s a huge deal for the neighborhood and one of the best things about living in Memphis!
The weekend kicks off with the Cooper Young 4-Miler, a nighttime race through the neighborhood. This was my second year running the race.
The course is pretty straight forward with some small hills. What’s really unique about this race is 1) it’s at night and it’s dark unlike the summertime M-Town Series 2) the entire neighborhood gets involved.
Don’t believe me?
Nearly every house on the course had people spectating (and partying)! Some went all out — see above — and others just had a few lawn chairs. It was so uplifting to see so many people out having fun and celebrating the race and the neighborhood. The atmosphere of this race really makes it special! I love the community feel and seeing little kids cheering, hearing all kinds of music, being poured Fireball shots straight from the bottle, snacking on cheese and grapes and running through a chute of spectators to the finish. It’s not to be missed!
The race organizers made a half-hearted attempt at corrals — I’m not sure if they were underprepared or runners just didn’t want to follow directions, but I was really disappointed in the way the start was organized and executed. I think larger signs (or just signs in general) would help people figure out where to line up for the race. I heard lots of people around us talking about how it was their first race, which is awesome and I’m so excited they’re joining us, but it might help people figure out how things work if they don’t have any race experience. I can’t even begin to count how many walkers I passed who started right near the front.
The party atmosphere is great for a fun race, but doesn’t set you up for a fast race or course. Just something to keep in mind!
After the race, there’s a huge party at Midtown Autowerks with pizza, Central BBQ, beer (including exclusively brewed Mile 5 from Memphis Made), chocolate milk, music and more.
Last year it was 63 degrees and cloudy at the start. I remember wondering if I should have worn long sleeves and hoping the rain wouldn’t hold up. This year the high was 92 degrees and it was 83 and sunny at the start. Vastly different! Welcome to fall in Memphis.
The good news here is that despite the heat and humidity, I still managed to beat last year’s time! Last year I was still running intervals using the Galloway Method, and this year I ran (most of) the race without stopping.
- Was my latest run in a year.
All in all, we had a great time at the 2015 Cooper Young 4-Miler! I’m crossing my fingers for cooler weather and more organized corrals next year since I’ll be back to run it again for sure!