Blake Hilty, a 35-year-old attorney from the Seattle, Washington area, learned a lot his first time running as a St. Jude Hero® at the Alaska Airlines Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon in Seattle on June 18.
Most of all, he learned that being a St. Jude Hero and wearing the Hero racing singlet makes a difference for the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — and just maybe in the results of his race. Hilty took the overall title on his 17th marathon race, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:38:57.
“I’m not sure, but there certainly was something magical about the day,” Hilty said. “I do know that once I was out in front and representing St. Jude, I did have a little extra in me.”
Hilty raised $1,000 for St. Jude as a Hero, and another 315 Heroes participating in Seattle combined to generate $145,000.
After seeing a St. Jude advertisement, Hilty said thoughts of his 18-month-old daughter led him to sign up for the race as a St. Jude Hero.
I’m not sure, but there certainly was something magical about the day. I do know that once I was out in front and representing St. Jude that I did have a little extra in me.
"I cannot imagine the difficulty for children and their families in dealing with cancer and other life-threatening diseases," said Hilty, whose training regimen called for regular 4 a.m. wakeup calls. "St. Jude's commitment to providing the needed medical care at no cost to these families is such a great cause. When I read about it this year, my thought was any dollar that I could raise for such a tremendous organization is more than worth my time and effort."
St. Jude Heroes who participated in the Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon raised more than $145,000 for the kids of St. Jude.
Thanks to Heroes like Hilty and thousands of others, the treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
Winning his first marathon was truly a memorable experience for many reasons, Hilty said.
“I was running for more than myself and that was an extra boost,” he said. “The (Heroes) jersey was icing on the cake!”