Review: 2013 Memphis in May Sprint & Olympic

Two early season races in the Mississippi Valley.

I am very late in getting this review out (in fact, as I write this it is only about three days before the 2014 race!), so this will be a shorter version of the reviews. I will cover the Sprint and the Olympic together.


Sprint: Saturday, May 18, 2013, 8:00 AM
Olympic: Sunday, May 19, 2013, 7:00 AM


Address: Harrah’s Resort Tunica, 13615 Old Hwy 61 N. , Robinsonville, MS 38664

Note that the following address went to the actual hotel and race complex:
1509 Southern Celebration Blvd, Robinsonville, MS 38664


Official (per website):
Sprint – 0.25 mile open water swim / 12 mile bike / 3 mile run
Olympic – 1500m open water swim / 40 km bike / 10km run

Measured (my GPS):
Sprint – 0.32 mile open water swim / 12.93 mile bike / 2.98 mile run
Olympic – 1577m open water swim / 39.04km bike / 10.12km run

The Friday evening before also has a 10k road race, on the same course as the Olympic run.

Put on by

Start2Finish Event Management

Memphis in May International Festival

USAT Sanctioned

Yes. Note that the Olympic race is a regional qualifier for the Age Group Nationals. Finishing in the top 1/3 of your age group qualifies.


For both races: t-shirt, glass, finisher medal, awesome postrace barbeque.

It’s all on the event website, dude

Race Day Weather

As was pointed out on the PA, “This is the Mississippi Valley. It can get hot here.” On humidity was 75-95% and the temperature was 77 degrees at the start of the run on the Olympic. It was a hot day throughout the central part of the country.


In all likelihood, you will be staying at the Harrod’s Tunica Resort Hotel and parking won’t be an issue.

About the Race

  • This race has been going on for nearly four decades, originally run in Memphis but now moved across the border into norther Mississippi. After passing Memphis, if you think you are in the middle of nowhere on the way to Tunica, you’re probably doing it right.
  • This race is very well run.
  • If you are staying at the hotel, you will literally walk out to the start. Your bike is racked up the night before. It will be the most leisurely prerace setup you have had.
  • The postrace barbecue was wonderful. The prerace dinner was pedestrian and slow.
  • It is worth it to go to the prerace meeting as there are some unusual features to the bike course.

The Swim

The swim is in a very shallow lake. The 440 yard sprint swim is swum along the shore so your fans can watch you. It has been said that the race director will try to find SOME spot on the lake where the temperature is wetsuit legal.


The start for both races in time tiral.

The start for both races in time tiral.

Transition 1

The transition is set up so that the wheel of your bike goes into a rack on the ground. Very convenient and gives plenty of space for your transition area. The entire area is grass.

The Cycling

Both courses are famously very flat. You will need to be prepared for the possibility of long stretches against the wind.

The course had some unusual turns in which you will be expected to ride on the wrong side of the road. You need to follow the instructions from the prerace briefing.

On the inbound on the Olympic, there are rumble strips that cross the entire road and you must ride on the shoulder briefly.

Transition 2

The entry into T2 is different on the Olympic than the Sprint. So if you race both days and, like me, don’t pay attention, you can also miss where your bike is.

  The Run

The run is flat in both cases, and there is very little shade.


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