Inaugural Big River Crossing Half Marathon and 5k Coming in October

July 28th, 2017

Downtown Memphis

Big River Crossing's first two-state half marathon will be held on October 21, 2017. 

The half marathon will be the first to allow participants to cross the Arkansas-Tennessee state line via the Big River Crossing, a pedestrian bridge above the Mississippi River.

In addition to the half marathon, there will be a 5K that runs its course through Downtown Memphis (the 5K runners will not traverse Big River Crossing). Both races will start at Tom Lee Park–the 5K at 8 a.m. and the half marathon at 8:30 a.m. 

The race will benefit Peer Power Foundation, a Memphis-based nonprofit that recruits and trains high-performing high school and college students to tutor and mentor their peers.

Peer Power’s conception began in 2005, led by successful entrepreneur and dedicated philanthropist Charlie McVean. Combining a performance-based compensation model with the powerful effects of peer groups, McVean launched his unique student-to-student tutoring method, which eventually evolved into Peer Power, and now serves over 1,000 students. 

In addition to the Big River Crossing, half-marathon runners will traverse the Big River Trail’s Loop, a 7-mile, paved path through the Arkansas floodplains that is scheduled to publicly open by end of summer. Sections of the loop have riverside views, and the path rounds out with an outlook on the Downtown Memphis skyline.

“It’s truly special when a city can use one civic asset to support another,” said McVean, who was also instrumental in the development of Big River Crossing. “Directing this race across the Mississippi will bring well-deserved support and exposure to Peer Power and allow the foundation to continue positively impacting classrooms across the Mid-South.” 

At approximately 1-mile long, Big River Crossing is the country’s longest active bike-pedestrian rail bridge and the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River. It has become a nationally-recognized landmark for runners and cyclists since its launch in October of 2016, and the Big River Crossing Half Marathon will mark the bridge’s one year anniversary.

“My friends and I have been pining for a two-state race since the bridge was opened last year,” said Joe Royer, owner of Outdoors Inc. “I can’t think of a better way to end a half-marathon than with a stunning view of the Downtown skyline from Big River Crossing.”

Runners can register for the race by clicking here.

Keep up-to-date with race info and share online via the Facebook Event.

Race organizers are currently seeking sponsors to support the mission of Peer Power and benefit from this especially unique opportunity. Reach out to Dennis Ring, Peer Power Development Director, at dennis.ring [at] peerpowerfoundation [dot] org for more information.

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Mario J. Fortney

Mario Fortney is a Program Director at Whitehaven High School. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he received a Master’s in Business Administration and Business Analytics.

 He has worked with Peer Power since (2004) its inception beginning  as a high school tutor. He earned a full academic scholarship to UT Knoxville.  He has made a very strong commitment to using his talent to positively impact education in Memphis. Mario is a huge proponent of the Peer Power Model and knows it will continue to demonstrate its contributions to students' academic achievement, social and civic growth.

"Peer Power is what is right about Memphis."