Michael Jackson, Laughter And Prayer Keep St. Jude Memphis To Mobile 400-Mile Relay Going Strong

Sources: Al.com | All Things Michael

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Editor’s note: This story is part of a series that examines the issue of childhood cancer and other illnesses treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The series also follows runners in the St. Jude Memphis to Mobile Run that benefits childhood cancer research and treatments.

Friday the Memphis to Mobile 400-mile relay continued, as a group of runners made their way through the winding roads of Mississippi raising money for and awareness of St. Jude Children’s research hospital.

The blue team I’m part of ran throughout the night and early hours of the morning, but luckily we were able to shower at a hotel before getting about three hours of sleep Friday morning.

I was nervous about day one because I didn’t know what to expect or how I’d react to such sleep deprivation. Friday evening as I ran my first three-mile section of the day, Michael Jackson had me running strong.

When the other group was running and I was in the “chase van,” I tried my hand at telling jokes to the runners in front of us, however that didn’t go over very well (I’ll blame that on Google). However, those runners knew how to increase my pace with the right music when it was my turn to hit the pavement.

I ran while it was still daylight outside, and could see the beautiful pastures and open road. When Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” came on around mile 2.5, a fellow runner and I picked up the pace (there may or may not have been dance moves involved) and had a nice finish as team-mates stood outside the RV and cheered us on.

After we sent anther group of runners out, we headed to where they would end their run and came across our first real problem of the trip. As the RV went to the side of the road, our tires sunk and the backend of the RV fishtailed. Over the radio the RV behind us told us the left wheels were off the ground.  Everyone in our RV rushed to the left side to weigh it down to ensure the RV wouldn’t move anymore.

A tow truck was instantly called and arrived within 30 minutes, and soon after they freed the RV and it was on its way. However, we hitched a ride with the very hospitable blue team number 2.

My last 3-mile leg of the day began around 10:45 p.m. Running in the dark, I could see the blinking lights on the RV at mile 1 however, the run went by extremely fast.

When another runner and I ended our 3 miles at the RV the red team was there to meet us.

We formed a large circle, prayed, and the red team ran off.

It still amazes me the undying motivation, faith and determination these runners have. For some, they run because they have been directly affected by cancer in some way. Others are lucky enough to have not been touched by the disease, but understand the cause. In the end, we are all running for one mission:

“No child will die in the dawn of life.” – Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

 

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