The 13th annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend® presented by Juice Plus+® raised $7.5 million for St. Jude on December 6. More than 18,000 people registered for the event, which included a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5K, kids marathon and family fun run.
Erik Thiele Orberg of Baltimore, Maryland, and Alyssa Bloomquist of Columbia, South Carolina, were the top finishers with winning times of 2:33 and 2:52 in the celebratory weekend officially proclaimed “St. Jude Memphis Marathon® Weekend” by Memphis Mayor A. C. Wharton. St. Jude organizes the event annually, in partnership with the Memphis Runners Track Club. The YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South serves as the official St. Jude Kids Marathon and Family Fun Run partner.
Thousands of guests who visited Memphis over the weekend showed their generous hearts for St. Jude and enjoyed Memphis restaurants, hotels and shops, boosting the local economy by an estimated $20 million, local officials reported.
“On behalf of the kids and families of St. Jude, I want to congratulate our winners for each race, and every person who put their heart and soul into running and walking for the kids of St. Jude,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is now an incredible destination event that brings together people from across the country to support St. Jude and experience the amazing city of Memphis. I want to extend our warmest thanks to our event sponsors, to the safety and security personnel who supported us and to every participant, volunteer and spectator who ran, walked, cheered and worked to make this event an inspirational experience and single most successful fundraising event for our mission.”
More than 60 percent of participants traveled from outside the metropolitan area, with many forming teams and registering as St. Jude Heroes to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude. Official training partner Breakaway Running collaborated with national St. Jude Heroes coach Kevin Leathers to lead participants desiring professional coaching. Since the event’s inception in 2002, the St. Jude Heroes program has raised more than $40 million for the kids of St. Jude.
Unique to this event is the race route, which takes runners and walkers through the hospital campus twice. There, patient families cheer runners on to remind them that they are running for a greater purpose — to help ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for anything. In addition, enormous television screens along the course show patients cheering runners on, as well as volunteer cheer stations and bands. Participants often describe the event as the most meaningful experience and one that keeps them coming back year after year.
Presenting sponsor Juice Plus+® organized a company–wide team with 74 participants from 17 states and raised more than $52,000.
“When we started our partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Memphis Marathon in 2002, it was founded on a mutual dedication to improve the health of children everywhere through a cause that brings people from across the country together right here in our hometown of Memphis,” said Jay Martin, president and CEO of the Juice Plus+ Company. “The Juice Plus+ Company’s mission is to inspire healthy living around the world. With partners like St. Jude, we can work together to build awareness for children’s health. We are proud to return as a presenting sponsor of the marathon this year.”
The event would not be possible without the support of numerous sponsors, including official sponsor Landers Ford, which left a memorable impression by wrapping a vehicle with the names of every registered St. Jude Hero and donating $25 to St. Jude in the name of anyone who test–drove a Ford vehicle in the months leading up to the event.
Many runners who completed the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend are now looking forward to April, to participate in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon. Scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee, this event offers another chance for runners, walkers and others to register to participate as a St. Jude Hero. Final race times for all participants are available online.