You might be inclined to assume that Tennessee offers nothing more than (some pretty great) country and blues music, NASCAR racing, and Graceland, but it is actually a runner’s paradise. From the banks of the Muddy Mississippi River in Memphis to the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee offers a range of topography for any runner’s preference.
If you are spending time in the Memphis area, running the Riverwalk Trail on Harbor Island will give you views of upscale homes, Mississippi River, and plenty of greenbelts. Or, check out the sights along Beale Street, Madison Avenue, and Riverside Drive. You’ll find the Music Hall of Fame, Memphis Rock and Soul Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Blues Hall of Fame along these well-lit streets.
Center state, just northwest of Nashville sits Beaman Park along the Highland Rim. You will find some hills along the five miles of primitive trails and boardwalks, along with babbling brooks and waterfalls. There are few places more serene to complete a virtual 5K race in Tennessee.
Within the city of Nashville, you can find dozens of parks with paved jogging paths along the river or through shaded woods. Centennial Park, located in Midtown, offers the replica of the Greek Parthenon as a backdrop, along with a two-mile paved loop jogging trail. Tons of events take place at the park, so you might even stumble upon something (even more) fun to do after your Race the USA Virtual 5K race.
Standing Stone State Park, located on the Cumberland Plateau near Hillham, Tennessee, offers over five miles of day-use trails around Kelly Lake. Historically, the park was named for a 12-foot stone that separated two Indian tribes. Eventually, the stone fell, but part of it was saved and mounted upon a monument that still stands in nearby Monterey today.
In eastern Tennessee, you will find dense forests covering the mountain trails in places like Roan Mountain State Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Always remain aware of wildlife if running in places like these. This is a natural habitat for the sometimes aggressive black bear.
Perhaps you will be led to one of Tennessee’s most popular road races, the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon and Half Marathon. This race celebrates all things southern including country music, cowboy boots, and that southern twang. The rolling hills will almost ensure you don’t get a PR, but it is a very fun, fast route and an excellent place to run your virtual 5K in Tennessee.