I love researching races and reading race recaps from other bloggers. There are so many incredible races across the country that I would love to run. You should see the length of my bucket list!
Until I have an unlimited travel budget and never-ending vacation days, I’ll be running most of my races closer to home. Luckily, we have quite a few awesome half marathons near Memphis to choose from!
I haven’t run all of these races personally (yet!), so I’ve included recaps from other runners who have. If you’re looking for a half marathon close to home, I hope this helps!
Half Marathons Within a 1 Hour Drive of Memphis:
December – Memphis, TN
- This is one of the most meaningful races you’ll ever run! Not only will you run through Midtown and Downtown Memphis, you’ll also run through the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with patients cheering you on. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
- I’ve lived along the race route and there’s no shortage of spectators or spirit spots along the course.
- Our local running store Breakaway Running offers amazing resources for local runners training in Memphis. Their Half Marathon & Marathon Training Group is huge and a really great community of runners.
Tip: The half marathon sells out quickly, so register early. And bring tissues.
October – Memphis, TN
- The Greenline Half Marathon is one of the largest fundraisers for the Shelby Farms Greenline, a 6.5 mile trail connecting Midtown to Shelby Farms. The trail runs right through my neighborhood and I love running on it. It’s a connector to a slew of other Memphis trails.
- You’ll run much of the race along the Greenline and through Shelby Farms Park.
- Finishers receive buffalo medals! (Buffalo design, not material.)
- The weather this time of year is typically glorious, which makes things even better.
Read a race recap: Cami from The Brierfields ran this as her first half marathon and trained using the Hal Higdon half marathon training plan.
March – Germantown, TN
- The race is on the smaller side (1,500 participants), and the course runs through Germantown. It’s a suburban course but still pretty for a weekend run.
- There are some rolling hills throughout, but nothing too crazy.
- If you’re speedy, you could win some money!
- Last year they had post-race showers available near the finish line (and Heatsheets!).
Half Marathons Within a 3 Hour Drive of Memphis:
March – Little Rock, AR – 2 hour drive
I ran Little Rock last year and while it was cold and rainy I still loved it! Everyone was friendly and the course was interesting and not too hilly. The volunteers and cheer spots were fantastic too.
- Most of the hills are in the marathon course. There are a few smaller hills, but nothing too outrageous
- The spectators are incredible. I was rarely alone on the course, and each mile marker is a party!
- Little Rock a great place for a weekend getaway. We found some great restaurants (ZaZa, The Root Cafe and The Pantry to name a few) and there’s no shortage of things to do downtown.
- Uh — the medal. It’s huge! Not quite as large as the dinner plate sized marathon medal, but’s still a nice sized bling.
(Formerly known as the St. Jude Country Music Marathon)
April – Nashville, TN – 3 hour drive
- Nashville is seriously the perfect place for a weekend getaway! The city has so many fantastic restaurants, great shopping and a million music venues. This is your chance to stock up on goodies from Trader Joe’s, too!
- RNR Nashville is one of the largest races in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series and the course takes you through all the sights of Music City.
- While I haven’t run this race, I did run the Women’s Running Series Nashville Half Marathon in 2014 and it had a similar course. There are hills, but don’t let them scare you! I found that the excitement of race day plus being surrounded by so many other runners distracted me from the uphills.
January – Jackson, MS – 3 hour drive
- The 2016 race will honor the late B.B. King. He’ll be remembered in different ways throughout race weekend and featured on race items including the finisher’s medal.
- Race weekend includes a 10.5K quarter marathon called the “Quarter Note”.
- The medals are a fan favorite and have won awards over the years for their size and design.
- Live music is throughout the course and there’s a Blues Crawl after the race (admission is included for runners).
Read race recaps from: Tricia of Missipippi Piddlin’, Mike of Blisters, Cramps & Heaves (Mike ran the full marathon and his recap is very comprehensive and worth a read!) and Marathon Maniac Bryan of A Runner’s Journey.
An I missing your favorite half marathon? What would you add to this list?
Disclosure: None of this is sponsored, I just love to talk about races. All opinions I express regarding these races are my own.