It is St. Jude Memphis Marathon time yet again, and thousands of racers will be descending on Downtown Memphis this weekend for the 21st iteration of the annual fundraiser run. It is the hospital’s largest fundraising event of the year.
Last year, about 17,000 people participated in the event, which includes 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon races, in-person, with several thousand more running remotely.
On Tuesday, officials from St. Jude and the Memphis Police Department encouraged people to be cautious around the race route, to remain aware of their surroundings when in crowds and to stay weather aware, as well. MPD said it was working with the National Weather Service to communicate any changes to the races due to inclement weather.
Police also encourage people who park Downtown Saturday for any reason not to leave valuables in their vehicle and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s event.
When do the St. Jude Memphis Marathon races start?
All races take place on Saturday. The wheelchair 5K starts at 6:55 a.m. with the runners and walkers starting at 7. The wheelchair start for the 10K, half-marathon and marathon is at 7:55 with the runners and walkers starting at 8. The kids marathon ― which allows children 11 and younger to run 25.2 miles in the weeks leading up to race weekend and run the last mile on Saturday ― takes place at 1:30 p.m.
The pre-race health and fitness expo takes place from noon-7 p.m. Thursday and noon-9 p.m. Friday at the Renasant Convention Center, which could create some traffic and parking tie-ups in the area on those days, too.
Where do the race routes go?
All races start on B.B. King Boulevard, finish outside AutoZone Park and pass through the St. Jude campus. The 5K and 10K routes remain entirely Downtown. The half-marathon and marathon routes head into Midtown via North Parkway.
The marathon route features two spurs north of North Parkway and reaches as far east as East Parkway, looping through Overton Park before heading back west. The half-marathon route turns back toward Downtown at Avalon Street, and both routes go up and down Stonewall Street.
Full course maps for each race can be found at stjude.com/get-involved.
Expect large swaths of Downtown roads to be impassible by car for much of Saturday. Union Avenue between Danny Thomas and B.B. King boulevards will be closed starting at noon Friday and will reopen at 5 p.m. Saturday.
St. Jude Memphis Marathon road closures
Many roads Downtown will be closed by 6:30 or 7 a.m. Saturday and will start reopening after 9:30. Portions of Danny Thomas and B.B. King will be closed well into Saturday afternoon, with areas near AutoZone Park reopening the latest. All roads will be open by 5 p.m. Saturday.
The half-marathon and marathon routes will also close a portion of North Parkway and limit multiple roads to one lane or local traffic only starting around 8 a.m. and reopen starting around noon. Stonewall Street will be closed completely from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Areas in and around Overton Park will also be mostly closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Heading to Downtown Memphis?
If you do need to be Downtown ― to run, to watch or for other Downtown activities ― St. Jude recommends you get Downtown before 6:15 Saturday morning.
Parking lots in the area generally bordered by A.W. Willis Avenue to the north, Danny Thomas to the east, E.H. Crump Boulevard to the south and Riverside Drive to the west will be restricted Saturday morning with no one allowed in after 6:15 a.m. and no one allowed out before 11:15 a.m. The area around AutoZone Park will be restricted all day. A detailed map with parking restrictions can also be found online.
Corinne S Kennedy covers economic development and healthcare for The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached via email at Corinne.Kennedy@CommercialAppeal.com.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: St. Jude Memphis Marathon 2022: Route, road closures, start time, more