You remember that one time when they cancelled the St. Jude Marathon races but hundreds of runners woke up early & ran it anyway? After a long, wet, cold, & icy drive to Memphis Friday afternoon I met up with GoodGuy Otto & headed to the St. Jude Hero pasta party. This dinner was one of the highlights of my race weekend in 2012. Unfortunately the dinner was kicked off by ALSAC/St. Jude CEO Rick Shadyac announcing that due to conditions of the course & after advisement from emergency personnel he had made the decision to cancel the race for the next morning.
It was unfortunate, but understandable. The crowd responded with applause and celebrated the contributions made to the hospital. Together the 2,500 Heroes raised just over $8.2 million to help with the care of the children & their families. Great stories were shared & we celebrated those children who are stronger than I could ever imagine.
We were staying in midtown right around mile marker 18 so we started there and ran along the course towards the finish line area & back. It was cold, the sidewalks were icy, trees were down across the race path, and the roads were full of runners. We ran through Overton Park & around the zoo to North Parkway.
Right around our 3rd mile we stopped to help a very large dog wandering down the sidewalk. Captain Pickles had gotten out of his yard, but we called the owner & got him home. While we were stopped another runner, also wearing her Heroes jersey, stopped to help and started to run with us. This stranger was supposed to run her first half marathon that morning & was bothered that she wasn’t going to have chance to do it in her hometown. A true blessing to run in to, literally, two GoodGuys who love helping others accomplish goals.
Our new friend Melissa ran with us down the parkway towards the hospital and downtown Memphis. Along the way we passed several dozen runners in packs going every which way running their race. Cars were passing by honking & cheering for the heroes on the road. One car was even following groups and passing out waters! We lapped around the gates of the hospital & made out way to Autozone Park. This is where the finish line would have been for the race. In the dugouts there were all the race medals set out for runners to pick up. This was an unexpected & special reward for Melissa.
Leaving the park we took Madison Avenue all the way back to midtown towards our own finish line. I can’t express how great this morning run turned out to be with the atmosphere of the runners on the course & all the great people working to benefit the hospital. I met a great new friend & helped push her to finish her first 13.1 mile adventure & finished my reasoning for making the trip to Memphis. Following the run we cleaned up and met Melissa again for lunch & learning about each other.
This race continues to be an incredible experience. Every runner in this race is there for the sane reason, everyone is on the sane team. This is the only race I know of that has this type of atmosphere. The only race where very few people are concerned with themselves more than
those around them. The running community is resilient & continues to push ahead to the next mile. I’m already looking forward to December 2014 and running in the St. Jude Half Marathon.
Race Results: good stuff done.