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St. Jude Hero and Marathon winner Blake Hilty crossing the finish line at the Seattle Marathon last year

St. Jude signs on as Seattle race title sponsor

For the 2018 Seattle Marathon, runners will have even more of a reason to run their hearts out, namely for the kids of St. Jude.

Seattle lawyer Blake Hilty has never visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. But one of his proudest moments was crossing the finish line first at the 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon wearing a St. Jude singlet.

It didn’t take a hospital tour to motivate the disciplined, up-before-daylight-to-train-marathoner. Just a TV ad raising funds for St. Jude led Hilty to raise $1,000 and run his hometown race as a St. Jude Hero®.

This year, Hilty will have extra motivation as he defends the title: St. Jude will be the title sponsor of the race, which is expected to attract 19,000 runners to the heart of Seattle in June. The research hospital, founded in 1962 by entertainer Danny Thomas, announced a partnership with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series to increase its presence and fundraising efforts around the popular race.

St. Jude Hero and Seattle Marathon winner Blake Hilty

St. Jude Hero and Seattle Marathon winner Blake Hilty

St. Jude, located in Memphis, Tenn., is a national children’s hospital with a global mission to find new and better treatments for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It treats children from all 50 states and around the world, with the cost of treatment, travel, housing and food borne by donors. It will cost approximately $1 billion to operate St. Jude this year and the majority of that must come from generous donors.

“Knowing Seattle is a community that values fitness and healthy living, we are thrilled to expand our relationship with our friends at the Roll ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series through this event,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “This partnership presents a unique way for the Seattle community to rally around a common goal of finding cures and saving children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Hilty is among thousands of St. Jude Heroes who have committed to fundraising for the hospital through fitness. Since the relationship began in January 2016, more than 24,000 St. Jude Heroes who ran in Rock ‘n’ Roll races raised $9 million.

St. Jude offers a life-changing fitness program for our athletes who want to race for a reason, putting the heart into our Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events with their St. Jude Heroes program. This strategic partnership is an opportunity for Rock ‘n’ Roll and St. Jude to make a powerful impact on a community level in the fight against cancer.
Stuart Selig, Executive Vice President, North America Global Partnerships for IRONMAN

Now celebrating its 10th year, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon features a marathon, half marathon, 5K, public health and fitness expo and more. It starts and ends at Seattle Center, home to the famous Space Needle.

It was fitness that drew Hilty to marathons, first in college, and he’s competed in events from coast to coast, including the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon. Last year’s Seattle race, his fourth, was his first win. He covered the 26.2 mile course in 2:38.57.

“It was cool to win like that and be able to give more than dollars by giving recognition to the hospital and St. Jude Heroes,” Hilty said. “The hospital is incredible because money certainly can’t fix everything, but it’s such a significant worry that St. Jude is able to cover for the families.”


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