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Marathon runners have helped finish another year of fund raising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
On December 3, Bronx, New York, resident Kassahun Kabiso was the top finisher in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, Half Marathon and Memphis Grizzlies House 5K. Kabiso, who also won the 2003 St. Jude Memphis Marathon, was joined by 7,279 runners and walkers in the marathon, half marathon and new Memphis Grizzlies House 5K benefiting St. Jude. Kabiso, 22, finished the 26.2 mile marathon course with a time of 2:16:48.
The St. Jude Memphis Marathon, one of the few major marathons in the country to benefit a single charity, welcomed marathoners from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. More than 600 participants were part of an exclusive fund-raising group called St. Jude Heroes. They raised additional funds for St. Jude by encouraging family, friends and co-workers to sponsor them. In all, more than $432,000 was raised for St. Jude.
"It is inspiring to see thousands of runners from across the nation and around the world mobilized in their support of children fighting cancer," said John P. Moses, Chief Executive Officer of ALSAC, the fund-raising arm of St. Jude. "With each medical breakthrough, St. Jude doctors and researchers give our children the chance to grow up and live healthy, cancer-free lives."
Complete race results are available on www.stjudemarathon.org. The marathon was presented by Juice Plus+® and was a collaborative effort between St. Jude and the Memphis Runners Track Club. The 2006 St. Jude Memphis Marathon and Half Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, December 2.
Another fund-raising marathon took place on October 30 in Washington, D.C., when a record 27,822 participants from all 50 states and 44 countries faced a crisp start as the 30th running of the Marine Corps Marathon filled the streets of our nation's capital.
Two hundred and forty of those runners competed in the 26.2-mile race as St. Jude Heroes to benefit St. Jude and raised more than $351,000 to help fight childhood catastrophic diseases. The annual event is one of many marathons and runs around the country where St. Jude Heroes participate, including December's St. Jude Memphis Marathon and July's Memphis to Peoria Run.
"What a great feeling not just to accomplish this, but to have the privilege to do it for the children at St. Jude," said Adriaan Bouten of Bethesda, Maryland. St. Jude Hero team members participating in the Marine Corps Marathon must raise a minimum of $1,000. He raised $1,800 and completed his first marathon after 13 months of training. "It was a walk in the park compared to what the children at St. Jude are dealing with," he said. "That helped push me through the rough spots. I did it for them and for me."
The Marine Corps Marathon is open to all who wish to participate, earning it the name "The People's Marathon." Since the race's inception, more than 300,000 civilian and military runners have taken part. St. Jude is one of 24 charity partners of the Marine Corps Marathon.
The grueling race wound past several national landmarks including the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, the U.S. Capitol and Arlington National Cemetery. Musical groups were staged at different points along the course to play for runners, as were cheering observers. Marines with megaphones shouted encouragement to the runners in their own unique way.
Joining the civilian runners were wounded Marines in hand-crank wheelchairs, soldiers running in honor of their fallen brothers and one Marine with two prosthetic legs who joined his comrades for the first and final miles.
The 31st Marine Corps Marathon is slated for Oct. 29, 2006. To sign up for the race, e-mail Carrie Denning at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stjudeheroes.org.
But you don't have to run a marathon to be a hero to St. Jude kids. Visit our St. Jude Heroes Web page to find out what you can do to become a St. Jude Hero.