St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend

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Autumn Lee, Journalist

On Saturday, December 2, 2017, the streets of Memphis filled with runners—also known as “St. Jude Heroes”—participating in the annual races that make up the largest single-day fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Since 2002, runners from all over the country have participated in the marathons, half-marathons, 10- and 5Ks, and now, a 1-mile children’s “marathon.” This year, over 22,000 people participated in the races. 

  In 2016, approximately $10 million was raised through the marathon weekend race events. St. Jude Children’s hospital’s daily operational costs are $2.1 million, and St. Jude does not charge families for medical treatment. As a research hospital, some funds are collected from government grants and contributions, but the majority of operational costs are paid by fundraising contributions. 

The St. Jude marathon event is staffed by about 3,000 volunteers. In the months leading up to the event, volunteers register racers, organize the route and plan “hydration station” locations. Volunteers cheer on runners and hand out water at the hydration stations in shifts lasting about 5 hours. Julianne Tutko, a volunteer coordinator with the St. Jude marathon, remarked, “When I ran the marathon, I never felt so happy to see anyone as I did seeing the water station attendants! By about Mile 20, you’re not feeling very happy, so seeing the volunteers and hearing them root you on really makes a difference.” 

For more information about participating in next year’s marathon, either as a runner or a volunteer, visit https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/at-play/fitness-for-st-jude/memphis-marathon/races.html