MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Despite the soggy start to the day, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon was a major success.
About 26,000 people laced up their running shoes to help in the fight against childhood cancer.
“I just want 100 percent of the children to be cured,” said volunteer Nina Buscemi, who’s 82.
That is the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the motivation for volunteers like Buscemi, who traveled from New York to Memphis for the marathon.
“In memory of my mother who died today and who was a devout St Jude patron and who believed in Danny Thomas and we use to watch the show and she said I want to help that hospital,” Buscemi said.
Rain nor wind could discourage these dedicated runners from making it to the start line. The races were twice delayed due to weather conditions.
St. Jude officials said they made the decision out of precaution and for the safety of the runners.
It was Meagan Fielder’s seventh year running as a St Jude Hero.
“I'm a nurse and I have 3-year-old triplet boys and so these kids mean everything,” Fielder said. Another mom, Victoria Bond, participated in memory of her special boy.
“My son Jackson Bond was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer in April and he passed away in April, two weeks after his first birthday,” Bond said.
Just in time for the start of the marathon, the sun was shining and even brighter were the smiles on everyone’s faces
We talked to both the male and female winners of the half-marathon about what kept them moving.
“That was the highlight of the race right around mile 5, seeing all those kids out there,” said Isaac Bryan, who was top male finisher for the half-marathon. “Very cool.”
“I see all those kids on mile 6, it was great to see them,” said Yelena Nanaziashvili, top female finisher for the half-marathon. “It was unbelievable.”
Officials said there were 26,000 runners, 6,500 St. Jude Heroes, 900 patient families, 850 military/first responders, 4,000 volunteers, 40,000 spectators, and $11.2 million raised.
The marathon’s top prize went to Garang Madut of Lebanon, Tennessee, who completed it in just less than 2.5 hours.
More than $11 million was raised to help in the fight against childhood cancer.
All in all, it was another incredible year for the St. Jude Marathon.