Living near downtown Memphis means being close to the mighty Mississippi River.
Living near downtown Memphis means being close to the mighty Mississippi River. The Mississippi marks the border between Tennessee and Arkansas, and the area around the river on the Memphis side is a great place to walk, run or bicycle. My friends and I enjoy a run along the river when our kids are in preschool, but it’s also a great place to bring them along for a bike ride, stroller walk or picnic.
The Tom Lee Park in Memphis is one of many parks along the river walk and follows the Mississippi for several miles. The entire park is over 30 acres and was named for Tom Lee, an African-American river worker who saved the lives of 32 people when their steamboat, the M.E. Norman, sunk in the river in 1925.
After we drop the kids off at their schools, my friends and I meet at my house for the short drive over to the riverfront. There are plenty of parking options, so finding a place close-by usually isn’t a problem. We try to wait until the worst of rush-hour traffic is over and then we head down. We use the nice grassy area next to the path for some warm-up stretched and then we’re off. I usually bring plenty of water, especially if the humidity is high, since it’s always extra steamy down by the river if the weather is warm.
We like to start our run at the south end of the river walk area in Martyrs Park. There’s a statue there dedicated to the people who cared for those suffering during the yellow fever epidemic. We run north along the river to Asburn Coppock Park. Here we either take the river walk or pick up the bluff walk, which give us incredible views of the river. Sometimes we take the river walk all the way up and come back down on the bluff walk or vice verse. Then we hit Tom Lee and several other small parks and finish up at the Beale Street Pedestrian Bridge. We don’t do the whole river walk each time we run, but we try to finish the whole course at least twice a month when we have time.
Once we’ve had a chance to cool down, my friends and I love to finish our morning exercise by stopping off at Bluff City Coffee. It’s just a short walk to Main Street from the river. They have great Italian Espresso, teas and healthy smoothies, and their breakfast sandwiches are handmade with fresh ingredients. It’s a good pick-me-up after a strenuous workout and a nice time together before we head into a busy day.
Running along the river is the best way I know of to exercise my body, clear my mind and spend time with people I love.
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