The inaugural Mississippi River Marathon took place on Saturday, February 09. You were directed to the downtown area of Greenville (near the finish line) around 6:00 to board one of the buses to take you to the start line. Full marathon runners were taken to Lake Chicot State Park, while the half marathoners were dropped off on the Arkansas side of the bridge on Hwy 82 that crosses the mighty Mississippi. I counted at least 25 school buses for those running the half. We were allowed to stay on the warm buses until we were brave enough to venture into the chilly air. It was in the low 30’s at the time of start. There was a bag drop off for those that needed to leave any gear and this seemed to go off without a hitch. I opted to wear a jacket until I warmed up and toss it on the course which I assumed many others did as well after seeing the scattering of gloves, jackets and hats.
It was a pretty awesome thing to be able to cross the MS River on foot. One I’ll never forget! The size of the bridge was incredible to me! Many runners stopped on top just to take pictures. The course was well marked, lots of support, had many rest stops and more than an ample supply of port a potties. Lots of the residents of Greenville showed up to welcome the runners as we ran through their neighborhoods. School groups, cheerleaders, Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups and even bands – everyone seemed excited to see us.
The finish line was surrounded by people and you felt like a rock star as your name and hometown were called out as you finished. This town really showed up and showed out for this event! Finisher medals and water were handed out to everyone and you could hear the music and feel the excitement. I was looking for the food tent and found it nearby. All the pizza you could eat, donuts, moon pies, granola bars, ice cream, red beans and rice were just some of the things I saw and sampled.
I have never done an inaugural race before and this one, I can honestly say was one of the best races I’ve ever ran! I was surprised at how organized it was and how smoothly things went. Everyone received a tech T (my favorite) and our bibs had QR codes on them that you could read with your smart phone for instant results.
I will definitely do this race again! I’m excited to see how the organizers will top this next year. The date for next year has already been set for February 8, 2014. If you didn’t do it this year make plans to attend next year!