MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - St. Jude Memphis Marathon organizers and Memphis Police have announced the road closures for this weekend’s marathon, which coincides with a major game at the Liberty Bowl.
The 26.2-mile marathon begins at 8 a.m. Saturday downtown and makes its way to midtown before concluding back downtown.
Traffic could get tricky for a good portion of Memphis as the Memphis Tigers take on the Cincinnati Bearcats at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for the American Athletic Conference Football Championship, leaving no room for runners to race across the field.
MPD is expecting about 70,000 drivers for the marathon alone, not including those who are in the Bluff City for the big championship game. Numbers could amount to nearly 100,000 drivers on the streets of Memphis this weekend.
City leaders say Saturday is one of the biggest days for Memphis since the monumental MLK 50 commemoration in 2016. They’re asking Memphians to plan ahead and be extra careful with street closures.
“Please know before you go,” said Nicole Lacey, MATA spokeswoman.
Starting Friday night and increasing Saturday morning, officers will close dozens of streets throughout the city along the race paths.
Some roads that will be affected:
- B.B. King near FedExForum and Beale Alley
Drivers who plan on traveling downtown Saturday are advised to use the northern side of Main Street to Second Street, Madison Avenue, Danny Thomas and Jefferson Street. All road closures are also listed on the “Waze” app.
“It’s probably the most real time data you’ll be able to find in terms of street closures,” said Terry Glover with City of Memphis Traffic Engineering.
Hundreds of Memphis officers will be stationed strategically throughout the race paths to keep everyone safe.
Of course the focus of the days isn’t traffic, it’s raising money for curing childhood cancer. ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude, says the goal is to raise $12 million.
“I hope we’ll all see this as an absolutely fantastic weekend,” said Emily Callahan, chief marketing and experience officer with ALSAC. “Just a great way to showcase what we think makes Memphis an incredible city.”
Parking areas are listed on the St. Jude website for downtown employees and marathon runners.
Traffic should be back to normal in the downtown area around 4 p.m. Saturday after the marathon.