(Memphis) Despite St. Jude marathon organizers shutting down the fundraising race for safety concerns, it kind of happened anyway.
“We are here for a reason. That reason is unchanged,” said runner Mike Stoeppler.
Hundreds of runners laced up, put on their race bibs and ran through the streets of Memphis Saturday.
Social media helped organize big groups of strangers. Others ran on their own, for St. Jude, for the kids.
“They are over there laying the bed, the least we can do is get out here. We told them we were going to run a marathon today, that`s what I`m going to do,” said Steve Scoleri.
Temps in the teens kept some runs short.
“How long are you going to run today? 26.2?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.
“No, I was ready to do that. But we are going to cut it down to about an hour,” said Lance Ramthun.
Many people ran the entire course, like school nurse Vicki Williams. She drove to Memphis from Murray, Kentucky.
“One of my students last year passed away. He fought cancer for three years. He got much more quality time due to St. Jude,” said Williams.
Runners had to watch out for icy patches, part of the reason race officials deemed the course too dangerous.
They also had to watch out for street traffic because police did not shut down the streets.
Porta potties were already along the route, but there weren`t any volunteers at the checkpoints.
Runners say that`s OK. They don`t need the help, they`re here to help.
They kept that in their hearts as they held on to at least one special marathon tradition, running through the St. Jude campus.
“I`m fine with the race being cancelled. I understand. But it means a lot to me. That`s why I`m here, that`s why I`m going. They can cancel the race, they can`t cancel what it means,” said Williams.
Saturday’s runners say they will still donate their registration fees to the research hospital.
People ran the marathon in other parts of the city and county.