2012 Champaign St. Jude Runners

2012 Champaign St. Jude Runners
Our AMAZING group of runners for 2012~

St. Jude Supporters

St. Jude Supporters
After running for 20 hours, the thousands of supporters lining the streets to cheer our arrival is an important and welcome boost!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Scale of the St. Jude Runs

Last year, I blogged about how shocked I was to see just how many runners were involved in the St. Jude Runs in 2010. Being part of the Run in 2011 gave me an even more appreciation for the effort and sacrifice made by thousands of people for sick children that they'll most likely never meet. Being a co-coordinator with Kathleen in 2012 has required us to be more pro-active about getting the word out, and we do have our work cut out for us.

The St. Jude Runs is a big deal. And it's been going on for over 30 years now. So it is a mystery to me why so few in our neck of the woods have heard of it. Shoot, two years ago I had no idea either!

Frankly, I think it comes down to a most basic reality: TV coverage. The St. Jude Run Telethon is mostly a Peoria-area affair. The arrival of the Runs into the Peoria Civic Center marks the kick-off of the telethon. WEEK-TV does a fantastic job of covering the telethon, but their reach only goes so far. There's not been any significant coverage in the Champaign area (although a local TV station did cover our departure last year). There's certainly no telethon coverage here.

So, just how big is this thing?

In 2012 there will be at least 30 cities with their own Run. The granddaddy, of course, is the Memphis-to-Peoria Run. I spent a few hours plopped in my easy chair with my laptop heating up my thighs (roasting, really—in a sorta pleasant, glad-it's-not-summer-yet way), and I downloaded some GoogleEarth data into my mapping software, imported in the file from last year's run description, added a few layers of county borders and names, added up all the miles to-be-run by the cities, and pulled it all together—and voila!

The physical scale was a bit of a surprise.

Basically the middle third of Illinois is dotted with Run cities. You have to head waaaay down to see Memphis—that really gives some scale to the Grandaddy Run. That's a whole bunch miles. Speaking of which, the Runs totaled 2,257 miles.

Let me write that out. Two thousand, two hundred, fifty-seven miles. That's a lot of tread being worn down on asphalt roads. And Bengay. There's buckets of that too (unscented, preferably). Those miles may perhaps be trod by something like 2,000 runners—perhaps even more this year.

Bottom line is that the St. Jude Runs is a big deal—particularly for those families who will be receiving free treatment for their child stricken with cancer. Or a child benefitting from new medicines discovered by St. Jude.

Kathleen and I are planning to aggressively get the word out in the Champaign-Urbana area. With the help of other CU St. Jude Runners—new and veteran—I think we are going to do just that!

If someone asks if this is a big deal, I'll pull out the map below, and let it speak for itself.


St. Jude Patient: Kennedi's story

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