Peer Power Foundation's Big River Crossing Half Marathon + 5K returns this November

April 2nd, 2019

MEMPHIS, TN—Peer Power Foundation is pleased to announce the third-annual Big River Crossing Half Marathon + 5K, to be held on November 2, 2019. The half marathon remains the only of its kind to allow participants to cross the Arkansas-Tennessee state line via the Big River Crossing, the country’s longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River.

All race proceeds 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.

Introduced into Shelby County Schools in 2006, Peer Power combines a performance-based compensation model with the powerful effects of peer groups, creating a unique student-to-student tutoring method that offers students tangible incentives to drive each other to success. Last year, the foundation opened the Peer Power Institute at the University of Memphis to train and employ University of Memphis students as in-class tutors and mentors called Success Coaches, who then integrate into Shelby County Schools classrooms to support teachers and enrich curriculum. The partnership between Peer Power, University of Memphis, and Shelby County Schools is known as The Memphis Model.

“Peer Power was created to provide Shelby County Schools and University of Memphis students with additional tools for academic and personal success,” said Dennis Ring, Peer Power’s Community Development Director. “By running the Big River Crossing Half Marathon + 5K, racers support our mission by embracing their natural sense of discovery and ambition while allowing Peer Power’s Success Coaches encourage students to do the same.”

The half marathon course gives racing enthusiasts the opportunity to place a border-crossing race on their list of milestones—starting along Riverside Drive, the course crosses the Tennessee/Arkansas state line across Big River Crossing and then takes runners  through the Big River Trail, a 7-mile paved path through the Arkansas floodplains with riverside views. The race rounds out with a breathtaking view of the Downtown Memphis skyline.

Joel Katz, Senior Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation and a racer in the inaugural Big River Crossing Half Marathon, is exciting to revisit the course in support of Peer Power this November.

“It’s an absolute thrill to run over the Mississippi River and cross stateliness during a race because Big River Crossing provides incredible views of the Downtown Memphis skyline and the serene Arkansas floodplains with a course that will challenge you to do your best,” Katz said. “Of course, I run because I love it, but I run the Big River Crossing Half Marathon because I want to show my support for Peer Power, which I believe is an invaluable asset for our students.”

In addition to the half marathon, a 5K will run its course through Downtown Memphis. The 5K features views of Big River Crossing, but 5K runners will not physically cross the Big River Crossing. View the registration rates, dates, and early bird registration deadlines below.

Half Marathon

Open - Aug. 31: $70

Sept. 1 - Oct. 14: $80

Oct 15 - Race Day: $90


Open - Aug. 31: $25

Sept. 1 - Oct. 14: $30

Oct 15 - Race Day: $35

Runners can register for the race now with early bird rates by visiting


ABOUT PEER POWER FOUNDATION. Peer Power is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization innovating the public education system by inspiring and empowering youth to take control of their success. Peer Power’s Memphis Model recruits, trains, and employs high-performing college scholars to coach and mentor public high school students within the classroom. This model improves high schoolers’ grades, standardized test scores, and college and job readiness, provides college students with job experience and the financial means to stay in school, and increases teachers’ job satisfaction, performance, and retention by reducing the student-to-instructor ratio to 1:10. To learn more, visit

ABOUT BIG RIVER CROSSING. Big River Crossing serves as the centerpiece of Main Street to Main Street, a 10-mile multi-modal corridor between Memphis, TN and West Memphis, AR. The bridge is open daily to the public from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. For more information, visit



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I must always work harder than others.

Kylea Spradley

I am currently a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis. I also work as a success coach for Peer Power at East High School and I absolutely adore my job. The satisfaction from helping and encouraging young scholars is an overwhelmingly positive feeling that fills me with determination to constantly do better not only in my educational life, but in my personal life too. I take great pride walking into East High School knowing that I am not only a resource for the students, but also a mentor. I am that friend to talk to when something is going on, or even the outside opinion on a situation that shines the light onto a new viewpoint.

Peer Power to me is helping motivate students to graduate on time, and with dignity. Peer Power to me means inspiring that scholar to take the ACT again and raise their score, even if it is just by one more point. That one point can be the difference of a 2,000-dollar scholarship for college. Peer Power to me is getting the students excited for the endless possibilities past graduation, whether it be college or joining the work force. Peer Power to me is igniting the fire of determination and motivation under every student, and to welcome them into our world, post high school, with arms wide open, as that shoulder to lean on, as that support system when they need it.

Another reason why I love Peer Power so very much, is that it helps me to revisit old topics that I may have forgotten about when I was in high school. In turn, it benefits me in my college classes. As a biomedical engineering student, I take a ton of math classes. As a math success coach at East High, I get a refresh on topics that I haven’t seen in a long while, And if I am able to explain a topic, such as proofs in Geometry or absolute value functions in Algebra 2, to a student who may or may not have seen said topic before and for the students to understand it even just a little better, then I know that I fully understand the topic myself.

The relationships I have built during my time as a success coach at East High School are ones I will remember forever. Whether it be with my team leads, my teacher, students, and even other success coaches, the entirety of it all feels like a second family. I know that I have a support system at Peer Power, one that will always be there to pick me up when I am down, to congratulate me when I succeed, and one I can reply on in the future of my academic career.