St. Jude Marathon breaks records, raises $10.3 million so far

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It was record-breaking year for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, raising $10.3 million dollars so far for sick kids as part of its annual marathon.

Rick Shadyac, president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, tells WREG it was the biggest year yet, and there’s still more than a month of fundraising to go.

More than 25,000 people from 49 states and 19 countries came to the bluff city this weekend to run in the annual marathon.

"As a healthy mom of two healthy kids, I thought really, ‘Wow.’ I mean, this is an amazing mission," said blogger Leticia Barr, who came to Memphis from Washington D.C. with her 13-year-old daughter just to take part in the race.

It's their second year participating in the marathon, and becoming somewhat of a new family tradition for the pair.

"I think as a mom who’s really focused on the mission of St. Jude and giving back, it’s great to have this experience to share with my daughter," Barr said.

Thirteen-year-old Emily Barr ran part of the children's marathon last year, but this year, ran alongside her mother in the 10K.

"It’s amazing," she said. "I really like to give back and do community service work, but adding something else on for another cause and another family is just great."

They don’t have any personal ties to a patient at St. Jude, but they wanted to do something to help.

"I just felt that running as St. Jude hero was my way of giving back," Leticia Barr said.

Together, they raised more than $3,400 for the hospital just this year.

"Honestly, I wasn’t so scared about the fundraising,  I was more worried about being ready to run those 13 miles," Leticia Barr said.

Money that will go towards helping the families of sick children who otherwise may not be able to afford treatment.

"To know that they would never get a bill or they never have to worry about all the financial troubles that come with having a disease… It’s just really amazing all the work that they do, so it’s amazing just to support them," Emily Barr said.

And with a crowd of 40,000 cheering them on, those 13 miles don’t seem so bad.

Fundraising continues through January 5, according to a spokesperson for St. Jude.

The marathon is big for Memphis business, too, bringing in $28 million to hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions across the city.