MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is one of the biggest events to take place in the city. Every year, thousands flock to the event to raise awareness of childhood cancers. The premier pediatric treatment and research facility was founded in 1962 by comedian Danny Thomas. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital costs about $2.4 million a day to operate while there is no cost for children to be treated.
On Dec. 2, over 25,000 people participated in the day’s event, setting a record for the affair. Participants from 49 states and 19 countries helped raise over $10.3 million.
This past weekend, the University of Tennessee at Martin soccer team assisted in the preparation process while several runners with UT Martin ties participated in the event. Associate head soccer coach Leslie Gillies, strength coach Chris Gillies, head cross country coach Peter Dalton, assistant cross country coach Kevin Mangan, athletic department staff Haley Howard and Fran Spears, professors Stuart Currie and Ajit Korgaokar, and UT Martin First Lady Hollianne Carver competed in the event, mostly running the half marathon.
“This was the third consecutive year that we have run the race,” said associate head coach Gillies. “The race takes participants through the St. Jude’s campus where patients, their families, and others are cheering you on. The major highlight is the handful of minutes it takes to run through the campus and see the faces and signs of those affected by childhood cancer. It is such an honor to run and support this event to make sure these families don’t have to pay any bills.”
“We were so excited for the girls to have the opportunity to volunteer for this fantastic event and cause. I am extremely proud of how they embraced the environment and represented UTM. ”
The soccer squad was tasked with manning a hydration station. While set up at mile six, the team handed out Nunn and water to runners passing by. The squad was responsible for setting up and breaking down their station before and after the event.
“The race was such a great experience,” said sophomore defender Bianca McFarland. “You could feel the excitement from everyone running and working the event. I have never seen so many people come together for such an amazing cause.”
“Working the St. Jude Marathon was such an amazing opportunity,” said sophomore forward Nicole Collins. “The environment that was created from the runners, volunteers and even the spectators was contagious. Being a part of this experience was so fulfilling and it was an honor to help such a worthy cause.”