Join Joplin Memorial Half Marathon
The Joplin Memorial Run was created to honor the 161 people that lost thier lives as a result of the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. The event started in 2003 and was known as the Boomtown Run until the name was changed in 2011.
The race takes runners along a course with plenty of hills and long, steady ascents through the streets of Joplin, Mo. The race previously was part of this southwestern Missouri town’s annual Boomtown Days festival, which draws an estimated 40,000 attendees each year for live music concerts, fireworks, a car, truck and motorcycle show and more.
Since 2009 the event event includes a half-marathon along with our traditional 5k. Both courses are USATF-certified.
The out-and-back loop course for the race starts and finishes at the intersection of West 8th Street and South Joplin Avenue, and starts out by heading south along Joplin through the first mile to the intersection with 22nd Street.
Runners turn left on 22nd and then head east toward Joplin High School, where they’ll run straight through the heart of the campus, which suffered heavy damage from the tornado — which the school’s principal then described as “total devastation,” comparing to the impact of bombing of cities in World War II.
After that, the course then brings runners onto the residential streets of the neighborhoods south of the high school. There are some rolling hills here and there, but no major changes in elevation through this stretch of the race.
The rest of the course after this point contains a number of rolling hills as well as a stretch through Cunningham Park, which will take runners past a memorial for the more than 160 people who lost their lives in the tornado, many of them children.
The highest point in the course, at an elevation of about 1,073 feet above sea level, occurs right around the mile 7 marker, while the lowest point in the course occurs just before that between miles 6 and 7, where the course drops to about 1,000 feet.
The start and finish line lie within areas of Joplin’s downtown renovated just a few years ago before the tornado struck, beautified with new streetscapes, and along the course runners will pass by Shoal Creek and the Grand Falls waterfall, and cross over Short Creek between the 8th and 9th mile markers
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