Great American River Run Half Marathon 2022 review

I ran the Great American River Run half marathon over Memorial Day weekend in Memphis, TN. The Great American River Run is a 5k, 10k, and half marathon and is part of the Memphis in May celebration. Last year I ran the 10k and had a positive experience, so I decided to run the half marathon this year. My running has progressed over the year, and it was nice to have some progress to feel comfortable running the half marathon.

I registered for the race early on when it was only $45, and I decided to have my packet mailed because the hassle of going downtown twice wasn’t feasible for my family. I didn’t receive my packet until the day before we left for our trip, so I almost didn’t get it.

On race day, The weather turned out to be better than expected. During this week, a “cold” front moved through. The race started at 7 am, and it was a bit chaotic. Unless you were standing at the front, you couldn’t hear the national anthem or the start of the race. At least they had fireworks to signal when the race started. 

The Great American River Run started and ended on Beale Street, which is always lovely. I love running through cities, especially downtown areas, because those are parts I don’t frequent. The route was hilly. As expected, I struggled because I live at sea level. I know how to race my hilly races; I’ve become a strong power walker of the hills. I’m one step closer to being able to run those hills.

I also loved running by the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel. It’s one of the highlights of the race for me. My grandpa used to tell me about the nights he spent at the Lorraine Hotel for work, and he was there the night MLK was shot. It connects me to him.

The riverfront is under major construction, which was a shame because it’s such a beautiful part of the route. We spent a lot of time running down a construction zone. Construction projects are out of their control. You can’t stop the city’s beautification, and I don’t mind.
GH010404.00_12_34_01.Still006My favorite part of the race was being able to run on Mud Island. I have no idea how we got there, but that was my first time being over there. The area was so cute and pretty. And it made me think we were living the wrong life because the houses were terrific on the riverfront. I may have been a bit obsessed with The Pyramid during the race.

But this is also where things got a bit dicey for me, and I got tapped by a car riding in the running lane. I blew it off to someone’s anger about the blocked roads in their neighborhood on a Saturday morning. But this was a reoccurring theme of this race toward the end.

The time limit for the half marathon was 4 hours. I spent the majority of the race running by myself. The closest people ahead of me were at least half a mile ahead, and I couldn’t see anyone behind me. I passed many people and found myself in this place for the last 3.5 miles of the race. That was disheartening, but the water stations were still operational and filled with smiling faces.  

This race didn’t skimp on the aid stations. The people were lovely, and there were cold towels at every stop. It started to warm up toward the end, so this was a nice touch for the runners.

My hip started to hurt around mile 10, so I decided it would be best to be conservative instead of trying to push it and injure myself. The hills might have been a bit too much for me. And of course, like in ANY city, the streets aren’t in the best condition, and I drag my feet, especially when tired. I took a more measured approach to finish the race.


I finished the Great American River Run half marathon in 3:15 minutes. There was a point where I didn’t think I would finish the race, but I pulled through. Remember, it’s always important to listen to your body and give it what it needs. I could have finished faster, and I was on track for a faster finish until this happened. But was it worth it for what? 5 minutes? Nope. It’s not like I was winning the race.

I do have a minor complaint about the finish line. When I was running to the finish, I had to dodge people walking in the street, and some people were taking pictures in the middle of the road. There was a total lack of control at the finish line. By the time I rolled in, 45 minutes before the course cut off, there was no one there to announce my name, people were standing in the street, and it was like I had just finished a training run. It was an odd feeling. What about the 60 other people behind me who had yet to finish? Maybe it’s just me but crossing the finish line should be an exciting experience in a race, and this finish line was non-existent. It made me sad, so I had to take a minute to consider my accomplishment and celebrate it myself.

There was no food left at the finish line. The volunteers handed me a cupcake and a “veggie” burger, a piece of zucchini squash, red bell pepper, and zucchini on bread. There was no water, but there was plenty of beer. I did get a banana, orange, and chips at the end, which I am grateful to have received. There should have been better food management for everyone to have their pick at the end.

Great American River Run Half Marathon 2022
I do realize this review sounds a bit salty. For the most part, I enjoyed the race, and these little things stuck with me. Most importantly, I’m grateful I can move my body to finish a half marathon.  

Race rating: 3 stars

Aid stations: 5 stars

Course: 3.7 stars (when the construction ends, it’s going to go way up)

Difficulty: 3.8 (a hotter day, this will be brutal)

Things to know about The Great American River Run:

  • The race caters to a fast runner or the 5K and 10K crowd.
  • The volunteers were great and kept things positive. 
  • You have to pay for race day parking, which is not cheap. This was mentioned in advance of the race, so it’s not a surprise.  There is more street parking and cheaper parking available.
  • Beware of having your packet mailed because you might not get it.
  • Run this race with a friend, especially if you’re a back of a packer because you’ll have someone to keep you company.
  • The views are immaculate, especially when the riverfront project construction ends.

Weekly wrap-up #5: hurt back, avocado chickpea toast, reading …

Weekly wrap-up #5: hurt back, avocado chickpea toast, reading and binging tv

Welcome to another weekly wrap-up. It’s the time to talk about the good, the bad, and everything else from the week before on the blog. This week I found myself down with a pulled muscle or pinched nerve in my back. On Tuesday, I reached for my backpack, and I felt a pain in my back. I didn’t think about it and reached down to pick up my backpack after that and went home to work out. The following day, I reached for a toy on the floor, and the same thing happened, but the pain was worse.   My week…

View Post

Weekly Wrap up #3 2022: an easy wholesome week

Weekly Wrap up #3 2022: an easy wholesome week

This week was a slow week for working out since I ran my 5K and half the weekend before. The week brought cold weather, family time, and just enjoying the time at home. I have Reynaud’s Syndrome, so I like to stay inside when it gets cold. We played video games, read books, and of course, started Ozark. It was a wholesome week, which was nice not to do anything. For the first time in a long time, things were calm and unscheduled. Every once in and awhile, that’s a beautiful feeling! Workouts this week: Monday: Rest day Tuesday: Rest Day Wednesday: 30…

View Post

Weekly wrap Up #2 2022: half marathon weekend and changing …

Weekly wrap Up #2 2022: half marathon weekend and changing my diet

Welcome to the weekly wrap-up, and it’s late. Work has kept me busy, but I was about to plan things out for the first time and feel a bit “normal.” I changed my diet, meal prepped some food, and the Louisiana Marathon weekend was my favorite race weekend of the year. No excuses; it just needs to get done. Workouts for the week: Monday: 40 min run. I went into the run wanting to take it easy, and I could go in the morning because I didn’t have to go to work. It felt great getting my workout done in…

View Post

Best of October 2021: what I ate, read, ran, …

Best of October 2021: what I ate, read, ran, and Formula 1

October is over. I can’t believe we are moving into the last two months of the year. I wanted to look back on the month to celebrate all the good land lows) of the month. Many things happen throughout the month that I may not talk about because there’s no space to talk about them. This blog post is the perfect place to include the big and little things happening in life.   October has been busy for me. There were so many activities and things to participate in throughout the month; it was nice to get back to having fun…

View Post

Race recap: Toughest Galveston 10K

Race recap: Toughest Galveston 10K

The Galveston Toughest 10K is the second run in the Texas Bridge Series. The first race was Kemah Toughest 10K, and the third race is the LaPorte Half Marathon next month.   The day before the race, the weather was sweltering and humid. I spent the day picking up my packet and walking around the outlet mall, so my first thought was if tomorrow is like this, it would be brutal. Fast forward to race day: 30 mph winds and 60 degrees. I must admit I was afraid to be running a bridge in those winds. Watch my video: Getting the…

View Post

Are you hydrating the right way? (featuring Ultima …

Are you hydrating the right way? (featuring Ultima Replenisher Electrolytes)

“Disclaimer: I received an Ultima Replenisher to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!” It’s hot outside, and Ultima Replenisher has helped me stay hydrated over these heated months. It is hard to avoid it, especially living on the Texas coast. The heat and humidity make the workouts harder, which means I spend a little extra time focusing on hydration. Long runs become a bit harder during the summer months, which is ironic because this is when we start training for those fall races…

View Post

Trying the Tanri Outdoors sunscreen products

Trying the Tanri Outdoors sunscreen products

Disclaimer: I received the Tanri sunscreen products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews! I received my Tanri sunscreen and daily moisturizer through Bibrave. I am a person who takes skincare very seriously, and I was excited to try out these products. Tanri outdoors is a mineral sun ween developed for runners and adventurers by runners. The only FDA-approved ingredients for sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both found in mineral sunscreens. Tanri strives “to source natural products that…

View Post

Weekly workout breakdown: remembering my why, celebrating little …

Weekly workout breakdown: remembering my why, celebrating little victories, and running

I’ve slacked off of my weekly workout breakdowns because I’ve gotten lazy. The weekly workout breakdowns are the place where I dissect last week’s workouts and the thought process behind the workouts. I am working on making some improvements in my life. I’m all about being my best self and better than yesterday. Those are things I’ve somehow forgotten along the way. Do you ever forget the” why” behind it all? That’s why it’s essential to write things down. The struggle has been real lately, but I’m on the up and up. The only consistent thing I do every day…

View Post

Week of workouts: Covid vaccination experience, finding balance …

Week of workouts: Covid vaccination experience, finding balance with speed vs. mileage, and strength workouts

It’s that time to recap my workouts for the week. Last week’s workouts were a bit harder for me. I managed to get five days of workouts done, even on Saturday when I had a pounding headache from my second shot. This week I decided it was time to start working with a running coach again. I will talk more about this in another blog and video, but I wanted you to know the origin. I’m finding it hard to balance my workouts to the place they need to be for me to progress. I’ve been working on building the…

View Post

Workouts for the week: trying new workouts, run …

Workouts for the week: trying new workouts, run training, and why I use the Peloton digital app

Last week’s workouts went well. I tried some new exercises in beginner pilates and strength for runners. People sometimes ask me why I use the Peloton digital app so much. The truth is, I pay for it, so I’m going to use it. I started just using it for my bike to supplement my workouts when I stopped teaching my indoor cycle classes. Then Peloton expanded the app to include new exercises. I love group fitness workouts because I didn’t have to think about programming; someone else did the work for me. All I had to do was show up, and the…

View Post