If you know me, you know that I love to run. Up until now, I didn’t think I could possibly love it any more. I was wrong.
Let’s back up about 6 months. My best friend Amanda, whom I’ve talked about before as the friend who got me in to running, participates in a St. Jude Peoria run every year as a way to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. With a half marathon or two under my belt, she asked if I would be interested in participating. She has had nothing but positive things to say about it, so I thought, why not?
Here is how it works:
-Group/team members raise money to donate to the charity.
-At the starting point of the branch, runners set out with at least 3 on the road at a time to head toward Peoria, Illinois.
-At the end of the run, all of the participating groups meet up at the convention center in Peoria to celebrate and take part in the St. Jude telethon.
The branch of the run that I joined was the LaSalle/Peru branch, which was a 66 mile trek to Peoria.
The day started bright and early at 4:30, so we could leave Amanda’s house at 5 am. The run kicked off at 6:30, and we had an hour drive to the start. Of course, we had to stop for coffee to get us running. 🙂
The run is split into 6 mile legs, which the coordinator also splits in half to keep people from burning out too quickly, especially since ours is a smaller branch of the run. We started with the second leg, which included a massive hill, but a very pretty bridge over the Illinois River. I ran the full six (and saw Ashley collecting donations on the way!) before taking about an hour long rest.
I alternated between 3 mile runs and breaks of various lengths through most of the morning. By far my favorite leg was a beautiful, shady, downhill 3-miler that a nice group of girls did all together. We had a great time chatting and laughing in the beautiful scenery.
After lunch, I was feeling good on one of my legs and decided not to stop. This was TOUGH. Luckily, the driver of the van that followed us down the roads was super supportive and kept updating me on my distance. Amazing people participate in this event; it truly blew me away.
This five-miler took a lot out of me, especially as the heat began to ramp up, so I rested for awhile and got to meet up with Ashley, who was volunteering, before my final leg.
I was slowing down at this point, but my group was amazing and held up with me and motivated me when I needed it.
Finally, we reached Peoria for the culmination of the day, which was nothing short of amazing. This post is getting lengthy, so Ashley and I will work on a continuation for tomorrow.
When all was said and done, I ran 20 miles– more than I have ever run in one day. I love running and racing, but this run was entirely different. Each and every one of those miles was bigger than me and meant to benefit children who need it. No matter how hot or tired I got, I knew I had to keep going, for the pain of a run is nothing compared to what some innocent children have to endure. I ran to end it, and I will run to end it as long as I can. We can only hope that, as cool as this experience was, we can find a cure and not need to run for this reason any more.
Stay tuned for the recap of the best part of the day!
Have you ever done a St. Jude run, or something Iike it?