Peoria, here we come!

Photography by Biomedical Communications

A three-decade tradition continued August 3 as the 2011 St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run kicked off at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 185 runners participated in the 465-mile run, taking place over four days and stretching between Memphis and Peoria, Illinois.

Dozens of cheering St. Jude families, staff members, friends and supporters gathered to wave flags, blow noisemakers and applaud as the runners embarked on the 30th Annual relay-style event. The runners – including St. Jude workers and former patients – defied grueling temperatures that topped 106 degrees.

The runners embarked in close formation, followed by the RVs and trailers used for shelter along their route. ALSAC chief executive officer Richard C. Shadyac Jr. also participated, joining the group for the run’s first leg along Danny Thomas Boulevard.

Upon reaching Peoria the runners were greeted by two thousand fellow volunteers from similar races around the Midwest. Their arrival kicked off the 34th Annual St. Jude Telethon, which raised more than $6.8 million – including $2.8 million raised by the Memphis-to-Peoria runners – to help fund the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.