Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Inspired...running for the children of St. Jude

"We came to run for the kids of St. Jude, and we did!"

The St. Jude Marathon is a different race, not only do we train to run a certain distance, but we become inspired because we are raising money to help children fighting cancer. Our passion for running truly becomes so much more, this year over $8 million was raised for St. Jude Hospital!

Our race may have been cancelled but that did not stop the passion in our hearts. While we do not promote running when race directors deem conditions to be unsafe, the weather predictions of a severe ice storm did not happen.

So this weekend, all around our city, runners layered up, and headed out in frigid temps. From runs along the planned race course to group runs in Collierville and Bartlett, so many ran their own race.

We want to celebrate everyone that ran, but specifically those of you that conquered your farthest distances!

We thought it would be best to have some of those that ran put into words what it was like for them:

Amanda D: My marathon experience? Unofficially of course Well, I have two words for you. Cold and exhilarating. I went with a group of runners from LifeTime Fitness in Collierville. Our route took us from there to Shelby farms and back. My running buddy, Debi, even commented that we had run through three cities. Ha! So, I guess I should start from the beginning or the first steps on that cold day. I arrived at our meeting spot and there were about 20 or so crazy runners. They were all super excited and you could feel the excitement in the air. They all had such determination on their faces. It made my run seem so much more possible. I was filled with doubt that I could do it. I had had some pretty disappointing injuries that had sidelined my training and my longest (not junk miles) mileage was 15. I just kept thinking, how in the world am I going to run 11 more after that and let’s not forget the .2, haha! But the excitement and determination of all those other runners made me feel like I could do it. When I saw Debi, relief is the best word I could use to explain how I felt. I knew that I wouldn’t be alone on my quest to turning into a human popsicle . We took off and as I started my run I felt excitement in every step! There were cars honking as they passed and there was even a family who braved the cold to ring some cow bells for us. There was lots of chatter among the runners and it felt like a real race! It was such a great experience to see everyone getting out there for this wonderful cause. At about mile 6 or so most of the runners started heading back towards LifeTime Fitness. Debi and I kept running and eventually found ourselves alone heading towards Shelby Farms. Those were the hardest miles by far. It was so cold my glasses were sticking to my nose and I had to take them off. Yet we kept running. We went over multiple bridges that were iced over. Yet we kept running (just not over the bridges ). We had multiple ice covered tree branches that covered our path. Yet we kept running. I just kept thinking that no matter how uncomfortable I was.. no matter what training I got in… the kids at St. Jude had endured so much worse. As we neared the end of our running journey that day it was getting dark and it was getting much colder. Debi said we were at mile 25 and I just remember thinking if I don’t lay all of my heart out here on the sidewalk I will walk away felling that I didn’t do what I came here to do. So I ran faster. My legs felt like lead, my arms were aching; my lips and face were burning from the wind, but I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. Then we were done. Debi said “26.2” and the only thing I could do was laugh.. I laughed so loud! I was exhausted, elated, beat down, but over the moon. I felt like I had done something.. be it so small.. to represent the kiddos. I did it. But I never would have gotten through it without Debi, my running guardian angel.

Katie S: First of all, I can't believe I got out from under that electric blanket. I did it because I knew I'd really regret it if I wasn't part of whatever was going to happen this morning. And I would have. It was neat. There were far fewer people out than I'd expected. But the spirit was there, and there were people cheering, and honking horns and MRTC was representing at Redbirds park. All good. I was hoping to soak up some atmosphere and maybe get 3-4 miles in. Honestly, last night I just *knew* I wasn't even going to get up, but I I did. I got out there. Yes, it was cold, but I saw a friend right away. He couldn't even stop to talk. He was trying to PR the SJ half marathon. I tried for two miles to catch him - mostly because I didn't know the route. Then others passed by, and it was easy all the way to the ballpark. From there I wanted to head back home, via mile 17-18 up Peabody. Ran mostly solo, but saw 6 or so people doing the full. Wow. There were two guys in front of Soul Fish on Cooper with water, kleenex(!) and Gu. Amazing. So worth it.

Angela B: I ran in Collierville! I didn't do a full marathon (I can't bring myself to run 26.2 miles alone, especially if it's not an official race!) but I did a half plus one :-) It was so cold, getting dark, and I had frost on my ear warmer after I finished! The best part was seeing my family at the unofficial finish line and getting to hug my little girl after hearing her yell, "Mommy!! Run, Mommy, RUN!"

Meredith G: I signed up for this race 6 months ago. I had been running all along but my official training plan began the beginning of August. I followed the plan, I researched fuel, I carefully selected shoes and gear- I sacrificed a lot and put in a lot of work at the same time. Yes, I was severely broken hearted to know I wouldn't run that race, but in the grand scheme of things? It was never about me. I had to take ME completely out of the equation. I dried my tears and did what any other runner would do. Got ready to run anyway. How could I not? Cancer and chemo treatments don't get cancelled.... I would run as a St. Jude Hero- race or no race. I didn't run an official marathon, but to me that day and those miles is not something I will ever forget. I would even go as far to say it was more special to me because of all the heartache that was left behind with it. Running that morning helped me grieve the race that never was. I was happy again. I AM a marathoner.

Jennifer M. : There's something to be said about atmosphere on race day was, and I don't mean the bitter cold. There was a special sense of excitement to be running with a group whose spirit couldn't be broken by the unfortunate cancellation of the official race. As about 45 of us gathered to our pretend start line, awaiting the unofficial start siren, St. Jude was on our minds and the group still couldn't wait to run to the hospital. I love the spirit of Memphis runners! 

To everyone that volunteered to graciously hand out water at makeshift water stations, and to those that honked at us to show support, we thank you!! We love this race and our city!

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