Guide to the Mississippi Blues Marathon

With live music before, after and throughout the course, the Mississippi Blues Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and 5k brings runners from across the country (and world) to Jackson.

Runners line up for the MS Blues Marathon. File Photo.

The weekend of events will start and finish from the race’s new home at the Mississippi State Capitol Complex.

Beyond the race itself, Jackson offers a slate of experiences participants will want to come early for – and stay long after the finish line has come down.

Friday, February 24

Pre-Race Expo

Grab your packet (pickup is 11 am - 6 pm at the Mississippi State Capitol, 400 High Street), including your number, and other race-day essentials like gear and nutrition, and hear from live, local blues musicians. There’s limited race day packet pick-up (5:45 am - 7:15 am), so plan to be here.

Grab lunch in downtown

No matter your tastes, there are options near the expo. Walk to The Iron Horse Grill for flame-grilled specialties (and a musical exhibit), grab a sandwich or burger at Steve’s Deli or check out the daily special at Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro at The Westin Jackson.

Explore Jackson

The City With Soul is brimming with cultural opportunities to help you better understand the music, history and culture of the area. Check out our newest museums, The Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art or, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures.

Shop and dine in Fondren or LeFleur East

A few miles away from race grounds, our city’s neighborhoods provide a different look and feel than downtown with chef-driven restaurants and boutique shopping.

In Fondren, carb-load at Barrelhouse, go for seafood at Saltine or barbecue at The Pig and Pint.

In LeFleur East, head to The District at Eastover for Sal & Mookie's or Cultivation Food Hall’s Uncle Ray's. Nearby, at Highland Village, Mediterranean-rich Aplos or classic steakhouse-vibed Char will satisfy your taste buds.

A smiling racer receives post-race refreshments
Congratulations, finishers! File photo from a previous year’s race

Saturday, February 25

Race Day – 7 a.m. - MS State Capitol grounds

Arrive early for a quick warm-up and to settle into your surroundings, plus gear check beginning at 6:30 at the state capitol. This year, the starting line is slightly north of the last running, at the corner of George and Congress, the opposite side of the post-race green space. Aid stations are roughly every two miles throughout the course and provide Gatorade and energy gels. Signage has also been increased for this year's race.

Listen for the National Anthem, played by local musician Patrick Harkins. On your mark, get set…

LOCALS: Cheer on the runners, thank those who make the race possible

Runners appreciate crowd support! Make posters and cheer or simply take a spot along the route (noted below) to give participants a hearty welcome. Great spots include downtown and the Fondren District.

And, say thank you to first responders, volunteers (75+ from JSU!), sponsors (hats off to Continental Tire) and everyone who makes the race possible.

Post-Race

Live music and complimentary food and drink (red beans and rice or jambalaya, fruit and Budweiser beer) greet you as you cross the finish line, in the green space between the MS Supreme Court Building and the Sillers office building. Stick around and enjoy: you’ve earned it!

Lunch anyone?

Some runners take it easy post-race while others are insatiable and looking for their “reward” meal. We have ideas! Fenian’s in Belhaven (two miles from the finish line) offers pub fare and a great selection of beers. Try the Irish curry and thank me later. If you want something equally as indulgent, check out District Donuts, Sliders & Brew, also in Belhaven. Fresh-made donuts (flavors rotate daily) join sliders, burgers plus cocktails and brews on tap.

Walk it off

If you are looking for a slower-paced afternoon and some post-race recovery, head for Highland Village. Called “iconic… where timeless meets of-the-moment in an atmosphere steeped in culture and southern charm,” the center is home to local, regional and national boutiques. The state’s only Whole Foods is here as well as lululemon athletic. It’s quite the culinary destination, too, if you’re still hungry!

Dinner Time

Cap off your day with dinner at casual white tablecloth Walker’s Drive-In in Fondren or BRAVO! at Highland Village.

Nightcap, Mississippi Music style

There’s always music in Jackson, especially on this weekend. Check out The Iron Horse Grill, Hal & Mal’s and Martin’s Downtown.

This post is offered as a representative itinerary of Jackson restaurants, attractions and events. As always, consult individual locations for hours and availability.