By Stephanie Gonzalez, CYCA president

After sending out surveys, talking to neighbors, and doing a lot of planning, we decided to take the Cooper-Young 4 Miler virtual this year. This is the only major fundraiser the Cooper-Young Community Association will hold this year, and we’re making it a celebration of the CY spirit. We hope you’ll participate.

Come this Saturday, October 3, runners can choose their own route through our historic neighborhood — or anywhere they feel like running! — or follow one of our suggested routes that’ll pass by Cooper-Young landmarks like the Trestle Art, the first rainbow crosswalk in the State of Tennessee, and the historic statue of Johnny Cash. Registration is open with a cost of $30, which includes race entry and a shirt, which will be mailed to you. Don’t want to run but want the shirt, designed by local artist Kevin Pasley, or just to support your neighborhood community association? You can do that too by simply purchasing a shirt

Similar to other virtual races, runners will track their run on the app of their choosing; Start2Finish is handling organizing the timing for us. And although runners can run any time on Oct. 3, to get the full effect, we recommend running between 4 and 8 p.m. And that’s where you come in, neighbors! Because this is a virtual race, there is no race route like in normal years; that means anybody could be on the race route! 

Saturday, between 4 and 8 p.m., we encourage you to decorate your porches and cheer on runners with small “quaranteam” gatherings featuring music, art on display, or anything you creative Cooper-Young residents choose. At my house, we’ll be getting our Halloween decorations up early, bringing a small fire pit to the front yard, and entertaining (um, hopefully?) runners with karaoke performances on our front landing with our small bubble of friends. 

What else could you do?

  • Light the way! String lights, decorate your house, hang encouraging signs in your windows. Make your house festive. 
  • Display art! Are you one of the many Cooper-Young artists in the neighborhood? Try displaying some of your creations in your front yard for runners to admire as they go by.
  • Make music! Know a band? Play an instrument? Like singing along with the radio? Do what you feel. 
  • Just hang out in your front yard! Grill, set up lawn chairs, play games, do whatever! Show our neighborhood visitors the friendly Cooper-Young spirit we all love. 

We want this to be a general celebration of the eclectic, fun, friendly, and welcoming attitude our neighborhood is known for, so interpret that however you like. However, remember to be safe. We recommend social distancing and masks. Keep at least 6 feet away from people you aren’t normally in contact with. Keep gatherings small and with people you are familiar with aka, your “quaranteam” or social bubble. Have hand sanitizer readily available. Don’t crowd. Stay responsible and safe. 

I also want to give a shout-out to our sponsors this year, Ameriprise Financial, Captain Harris House, Steve Womack – State Farm, Sowell Realtors, InCity Realty, Victory Bicycle Studio, and Memphis Drum Shop. Interested in sponsoring? There’s still time. Reach out to

And finally, we want to see what you’re up to! Post pictures from your yard, from your run, or while exploring the neighborhood and tag them #cy4miler. Let’s show Memphis what Cooper-Young is all about — even in this unusual year. 

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