Runners Supporting St. Jude Start 465-Mile Run from Memphis to Peoria

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Runners from across the country gathered in Memphis, Tennessee Wednesday to kick off a three-state, 465-mile charity race for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

With 18 teams and over 150 participants, it began Wednesday morning and will continue until runners cross the finish line Saturday in Peoria, Illinois.

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Ryan Gibbons, one of the runners from Dunlap, Illinois, is not a stranger to the cause as his family has been involved with the charity event for 29 years.

“Everybody that participates in this event has their own reason or their own story on why they are involved,” he told “Wake Up Memphis” before the start of the race Wednesday. “I’ve always said it’s my opportunity to give back to people that are less fortunate than me and my family.”

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Ryan’s father used to umpire baseball with Michael McCoy, who co-founded the race in 1982. As for the Gibbons family, they joined in 1992, ten years after the race first began and when Ryan was just five-years-old.

As he got older and was eligible to participate, he knew running in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital like his father was what he wanted to carry on.

“It was something that we grew up watching our father do every single year,” he said. “We always kind of give our dad a hard time because he doesn’t have any other hobbies. His only hobby is raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was a big inspiration for us and we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of as we continued to get older and we were finally of the age to participate… we never looked back.”


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Although it’s the hottest time of year in Memphis, the runners get an added dose of motivation starting at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital campus before embarking on the three-state race.

“When you are actually running through the campus and you see the doctors, you see the nurses and see some patients and the families of the people affected, it definitely gives you that extra umph to get going,” Gibbons said. “You remember why you’re here.”

The Gibbons’ goal before the end of the race is to raise $50,000. Click here to DONATE and show your support for the cause.


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