The St. Jude's run to Peoria is going on as we speak, and will continue through the night and into tomorrow.
A group was organized a few years ago for a Quincy to Peoria leg, but this year that leg stretched across the river to Hannibal.
That group kicked off running at 12:30 Friday afternoon.
The runners were sent off in style with a lot of pep, perseverance, and proud friends and family wishing them well. This group ran through Palmyra and on to Quincy crossing the Memorial Bridge late in the day. Mary Lynne Richards has been running for St. Jude's for a few years now, and being from Hannibal, she's thrilled she can start the long journey in America's Hometown.
Richards says, "We've always wanted to get a Hannibal contingency to be part of it. It's a commitment. It's a fundraising event, so you have to be prepared to raise the money and take a weekend out of your August."
Most runners don't mind losing the weekend, but they love raising the money. When this is all said and done, runners from all over Missouri, Illinois, and Memphis, Tennessee converge at the Peoria Civic Center with a check of usually around three million dollars for St. Jude's research hospital.
Angie Sante says, "I'm just really grateful to have healthy children, and my kids are able to run and my husband runs and I'm a runner. I'm running to help those who can't."
Angie Sante is a first time runner for St. Jude's.
Sante says, "I'm hoping for cool weather and a good time, I don't know."
Most of the running will take place at night, so watch out for a group of runners.
Sante says, "When you see someone out on the road, move over and give them a little space."
The run is done relay style, with up to 12 runners running at once. They can run as little as a mile or up to three miles at a time, then the groups switch. Once all the runners reach Peoria, they all run into the Civic Center.
Mary Lynne Richards says, "It's a great feeling. You're tired, you've been running all night long, barely any sleep. You run into Peoria and you see all these runners and you see the children, and it makes you realize why you're here."
As you probably know, St. Jude's doesn't turn any patient away based on their ability to pay.
As we mentioned earlier, the runners in Hannibal got off to a peppy start, that's thanks in part to the kids at the Hannibal Children's Center.
They also sent the runners with some special things.
The kids set up a lemonade stand on Fridays for about six weeks this summer and collected money for St. Jude's.
They sent the check for $106.50 with the runners.
They also sent homemade cards they made for the patients.
Gillian Hark says, "It's for children to make them happy. For them to feel good if they are getting ready to go to surgery or something. That card can just cheer them up."
The kids also made signs supporting the runners.
To see how one runner trains, click here.
Click here to view the local website for more information.
We want to hear from you, too ... are you or your loved ones participating in the run? Post your photos on our Facebook page here or on our uConnect site ... you can even email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd love to use them in our newscast!