Quincy St. Jude campaign kicks off at Tower

2012 St. Jude Run

Dozens of Quincy and Hannibal area residents will hit the ground running this summer to help children fighting cancer.

The annual St. Jude Run in Quincy takes place on Aug. 2, but organizers are kicking off this year's run with a community get together Thursday at

Tower Pizza

, in Quincy at 6 p.m.

Tim Smith says the run is not a race, only a fundraiser. You must raise a minimum of $750 before you take part in the race.

The relay-style run starts in Quincy and ends in Peoria. But a few years ago, a group of Hannibal residents began the run across the river before coming to Quincy. Smith says you don't have to be a runner to participate.

"I did it the first year because some friends told me I had to try it. So, I did the run. I wasn't a runner, so I may have run four or five miles for the whole thing. You get into Peoria and there's all these town, like 35 towns that meet in Peoria at the same time," Smith said.

Smith describes the final moments of the run in Peoria.

"They start announcing you in. They've got the streets lined with people and you just get chills. Then you get to take a shower at the hotel which is nice and then you have to run another quarter mile where they announce each town into the civic center. That's when you have the St. Jude's families on the road. If you get out of there without a tear, you're good, because I didn't," Smith said.

Last year, Quincy raised more than $111,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.