St. Jude Memphis Marathon runners prepare for race day

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:56 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Runners and heroes alike are getting ready for Saturday’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon.

Donna Schum, a St. Jude Hero, is one of the thousand runners preparing for the marathon.

“The energy that you feel when you go down to the race, rather you’re a spectator or participant is just incredible,” Schum said.

Being a St. Jude Hero means raising funds for the patients of St. Jude — kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases — while runners train for the race.

Most runners start preparing in June, but Schum’s preparation looked a little different this year. A typical six-month preparation turned into only three months.

“I actually had to start preparing in September,” Schum said. “Normally I would start preparing about six months out, but I had to wait until September to start preparing this year, so I kind of had to rush it a little bit.”

It was all because she suffered a heart attack on June 14, and wasn’t cleared to run until three months later. But still, she had the marathon on her mind.

“One of the first questions out of my mouth was, ‘Am I going to be able to run in the St. Jude Half Marathon in December?’ [The doctor] said to me, ‘I think we can do that. I think we can get you recuperated in time.’”

Nicole Smith, another St. Jude Hero, is traveling from New Iberia, Louisiana. She’s a reoccurring participant, usually as a walker, but this year as a spectator.

“Knowing that you’re helping those kids is wonderful,” she said. “I was just recently diagnosed with cancer, and had surgery on October 24, so I’m still in the healing process four weeks out. But, if those kids can do it, as adults, we can definitely pull through and get this done.”

An eight-hour drive, Nicole says, is well worth the trip, no matter her own obstacles.

“I’m sure this year is going to be the same experience,” Smith said. “I get to go out and support my friends and watch them do it this year. I have a bunch of newbies that’re coming so I’m excited for them.”

“The children of St.Jude have so much more to endure than I do,” Schum said. “So they just inspire me to put one foot in front of the other on my road to recovery and I just pray I’ll be able to support St. Jude for many more years to come.”

For more information about the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, click here.

To view a course map, click here.

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