We contend that the only thing better than a runner’s high is the feeling of listening to a great podcast. When a compelling story sparks your curiosity and has beautifully crafted sound design, the result is a sense of edifying wonder about the world around you.
So why not merge the two? As you run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon this weekend — or any race, anywhere — boost your spirit of discovery and learn more about the city by listening to these nine Nashville Public Radio episodes.
Listen directly on WPLN’s site, or search for the episodes in your favorite podcast app. For your safety, we recommend using your phone’s speaker instead of running with earbuds.
Start off the race by getting inspired. People describe attending Katherine Tisha Wilson’s fitness classes as “going to church,” but she’s had a long road to get to this point. After disappointment and embarrassment, she’s tapped into some deep personal motivation and used that momentum to change lives.
Curious Nashville: The Year Jimi Hendrix Jammed On Jefferson Street
As you run past Music Row, learn about some lesser known — but no less important — Nashville musical history. Jimi Hendrix spent a year here before becoming an international superstar. Curious Nashville dug deep to figure out why he came here and what it says about the city’s most prominent African-American neighborhood.
Movers & Thinkers:Inside The Mind Of A Cold Case Detective
How does a cold case homicide detective maintain faith in humanity? For more than 25 years, retired police detective Pat Postiglione solved some of the most gruesome murder cases in Nashville. This, he says, takes a toll: “If you stay in homicide long enough, it definitely has an effect on your personal life.”
The Promise: A Beautiful Day In The Projects
On your run, you’ll see plenty of neighborhoods where old homes are getting torn down and new ones are getting built in their place. But prettier streets don’t eliminate the problems of poverty and housing insecurity. In this episode, we meet one man who lives a public housing complex and struggles to protect his children from the harsh realities of the neighborhood.
BONUS! If you’re running a full marathon and want some consistency, listen to the complete first season of The Promise, which lasts about 3 hours and 20 minutes in total (including the two bonus episodes). Plus, the full marathon will take you past the Cayce Homes in East Nashville, where the podcast takes place.
Here, we offer two options, depending on what kind of mood you’re in. Both are tales of persistence and overcoming trials, which should give you a boost of motivation. In “A Woman And A Dragon,” we hear from Linda Ragsdale, whose harrowing experience escaping a terrorist attack redefined her life. In “Thank God For That Judge,” Helen German recounts a life story about moving to America and sustaining a 65-year marriage.
Curious Nashville: How We Got Left With A Nice Station And No Passenger Train
At this point in the race, you may be wishing for an alternate form of transportation. Just don’t get your hopes set on an Amtrak. The passenger rail service discontinued its Nashville stop in 1979, after the line was ranked as the biggest money-loser in the country. It’s a fascinating slice of Nashville history that will make you see Union Station in a whole new light as you run past.
Movers & Thinkers:The Poet In The Family
If Tiana Clark’s poetry about race, family and sex doesn’t distract you in the last leg of your run, probably nothing will. Tiana writes the (at times painfully) true words we all wish we had the guts to say out loud, and she’s just as honest in this one-on-one interview with WPLN’s Emily Siner.
BONUS! Keeping Score: Love, Magic And A Mechanical Tree
For a final pick-me-up, check out this delightful conversation about The Nutcracker. It’s not exactly seasonal, but the twinkling sounds of the score, dissected by 91Classical’s Colleen Phelps and the Nashville Ballet’s Paul Vasterling, will hearken back your fondest memories of winter — which should cool you off as you near the finish line.