Peer Power's Two-State Half Marathon Spanning Big River Crossing Returns this November

May 3rd, 2018

Peer Power Foundation is pleased to announce the second-annual Big River Crossing Half Marathon + 5K, to be held on November 3, 2018. The half marathon is the only of its kind to allow participants to cross the Arkansas-Tennessee state line via the Big River Crossing, a one-mile long 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.

Conceived in 2005 by successful entrepreneur and dedicated philanthropist Charlie McVean, 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.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Peer Power partnered with University of Memphis and Shelby County Schools to create The Memphis Model, an extension of their unique tutoring system that recruits University of Memphis students to become Success Coaches to Shelby County School students. The Memphis Model has employed 253 Success Coaches, dramatically reducing teacher-to-student ratios in classrooms and giving teachers much more flexibility in their lesson planning. Last year, Peer Power’s presence in Whitehaven High School heavily influenced its highest percentage of high school graduates ever, jumping to 92 percent up from 78 percent since the program was introduced in 2006.

“Over 600 people from 16 different states and one foreign country participated in last year’s races, and we have every intention of lapping those numbers this year,” said McVean, who was also instrumental in the development of Big River Crossing. “It’s exhilarating to see the momentum at which the profiles of these races and of Big River Crossing grow, because I know that every ounce of support goes back to our children’s success and our city’s future.”

The half marathon course gives racing enthusiasts the opportunity to place a border-crossing race on their list of milestones, as it starts along Riverside Drive, then over Big River Crossing through the Big River Trail, a 7-mile paved path through the Arkansas floodplains with riverside views. The half marathon rounds out with a breathtaking view of the Downtown Memphis skyline.

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. Both races will start at Tom Lee Park—the 5K at 8 a.m., followed by the half marathon at 8:30 a.m.

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 two-year anniversary.

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

Race organizers are currently seeking sponsors to support the mission of Peer Power and benefit from this especially unique opportunity.

“Peer Power and Big River Crossing have two different missions, yet both encourage a sense of discovery, a belief that you can do things you never thought you could before,” said Dennis Ring, Peer Power’s Development Director. “I think a partnership between the two is very fitting, and sponsorship is a fantastic opportunity to be associated with two city organizations that promote broadening your horizons and breaking your limits.”

Contact dennis.ring [at] peerpowerfoundation [dot] org for more information related to sponsorship.

ABOUT PEER POWER FOUNDATION. Peer Power is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 that recruits and trains high-performing students to tutor and mentor their peers, encourage active learning, value education and be personally accountable for their futures. Its mission is to inspire and empower youth to take control of their academic success.

In 2015, Peer Power announced an expansion of its initial high school program—entitled the Memphis Model—in partnership with Shelby County Schools and University of Memphis. The program now employs over 100 University of Memphis “Success Coaches,” or tutors, who are trained and deployed into classrooms at East High School and Whitehaven High School. Three coaches work in each SCS teacher directed classroom, drastically reducing the teacher-to-student ratio. Peer Power tutors now serve over 1,000 students across Memphis.

For more information, visit

« Back

I must always work harder than others.

Cortney C. Richardson

I am a Native Memphian, East High Graduate, and University of Memphis Alumnus who takes pride in being able to say that I serve where I was raised. As a Peer Power Program Director, I have the opportunity to impact the lives of students who share similar beginnings as I do. These scholars benefit greatly from my experience as a student leader during college, my years of international travel as a gospel singer, and my lifelong dedication to GOD and my local church. I am a walking billboard of what is possible regardless of where you come from. It is from this philosophy, that I work to create, grow, and sustain programs that help hone youth into the people they were created to be. I started with Peer Power at its inception and I am honored to continue through our glory days.