St. Jude Race Canceled

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(Memphis) For the first time ever, St. Jude race officials have canceled the race because of weather conditions.

People packed a ballroom at the Cook Convention Center to thank 14,000 runners, or St. Jude Heroes, who raised $8.2 million.

It was a celebratory dinner before Saturday's big run, but it came with the bad news the race had been canceled.

Organizers spoke with the officials from the City of Memphis, Office of Emergency Management, and Memphis Police Department before making the decision.

"Safety needs to be our number one priority," St. Jude CEO Richard Shadyac, Jr., said.

Shadyac said he got an eye-opener when he toured the course.

"The course definitely gave me a lot to think about," he said. "There was a tree down in Overton Park. I went out to AutoZone Park and it was sleet and ice in the park."

He added, "We were having difficulty getting volunteers. Thirty percent of our volunteers had cancelled. Fifteen percent of our medical staff weren't going to be able to make it."

For the thousands who had prepared and even traveled a long distance, it wasn't the finish they had planned.

"It's got to be a tough decision to make. But I think it's the right decision. You don't want runners or spectators getting hurt," one runner said.

"I really wanted to run it and raise money for St. Jude, but we still raise money for them," another said.

Registered runners may choose from the following options:

- St. Jude will apply their registration to one of these upcoming events: P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half-Marathon (Jan. 19, 2014), Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon and Half-Marathon (Feb. 2, 2014), or the St. Jude Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon (April 26, 2014). NOTE: St. Jude will not cover any expenses other than the application of the registration fee, subject to race availability.

- Receive a refund of your registration fee for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend or allow your registration fee to be donated to St. Jude.

2013 registered runners will also be the first to be able to sign up for the 2014 marathon. The window for this special registration will be announced later.

St. Jude will reach out to 2013 runners with more details soon.

"We know it was for a good cause. We will use our training for another half. I look forward to a good night in Memphis," said one runner.

Other runners say they will still go out Saturday, on their own, to complete the race anyway. They say they trained for it, so they plan to finish it.

CEO Richard Shadyac, Jr., said in a statement:

"We want to express our deepest thanks to all of the participants, volunteers and spectators who have long trained, worked and traveled to support the patients and families of St. Jude through this amazing annual event. We hope everyone will come back to support the 2014 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. The money raised at events like the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend are critical to our ability treat kids with cancer and ensure no family ever pays St. Jude for anything."


  • Leslie

    I’m supremely disappointed for all the runners who have not only trained diligently for tomorrow’s race but also raised money to support St. Jude. I have long thought there was an unfortunate disconnect between the exceptional care St. Jude provides and their business practices. As someone who donated to a runner, I think one of the options should be that the runners could run next year’s race without having to meet the $500 donation requirement. A lot of people are not in a position to travel for several days to participate in a race.

    • medl

      Actually, after a certain date, you can register and have a goal of $500, not a requirement. I had to do this, and raised $250, which wasn’t a lot but given my work, was good.

      So no, that would NOT be fair.

  • Kevin

    I agree completely with Leslie. The roads are fine and I had both Family and Friends who were signed up and eager to run regardless of the cold. This includes a Friend of mine who has a Son being treated for Leukemia at St. Jude as we speak. I think the decision was far too rash. This event and it’s goal means so much that both participants and supporters would happily brave the elements.

  • Art

    This definitely wasn’t a rash decision. They’ve been keeping the hope alive to hold the marathon for days in spite of the weather warnings and in spite of the weather this morning and throughout the day. I highly suspect this was under pressure from the city and police department.

  • Jennifer

    I just want to express how rediculous it is to completely cancel the marathon. Why was it not postponed until the morning or Sunday? I drove from Cedar Rapids, IA to watch and support my dad while he ran in this marathon. What happened to waiting until the morning to see how it is? Why couldnt the event be rescheduled until conditions clear? And didnt the news say this event was not going to be canceled? What happened to the heated buses and blankets? What about everyones donations? Their flights and time spent to get here are the same as donations. They donated their time and money to support the kids and you cannot deny them this. People will run and you dont have to support them like they are supporting you. But then I guess when I left Memphis I forgot what a bunch of theives and liers live here.
    Really disappointed this decision was made and how this city has let down their citizens, again.

    • langor1

      Shame on you for insinuating that St. Jude is liars and thieves. It seems to me that Memphis, for all its’ problems, has MORE class with YOUR moving to Cedar Rapids.

      • tiger

        Well, at least they are out of this God forsaken city. I think they were talking about our beloved city officials, and not St. Jude.

    • Joe Williams

      @ Jennifer – Memphis is a sewer… count your stars you put this dump in your rearview mirror. We have one more year here and we are doing the same. Thanks for your support of the great St Jude Hospital and sorry the so called “officials” ruined the race for everyone.

      @Langor1 – take a pill… she was not talking about St Jude…

  • Brian

    Things happen! I walked around Memphis earlier today and the streets were beginning to ice. I think overall this was a wise decision. I knew I was taking a gamble to come here, and I lost. But not completely. I have raised $1,060 for these kids who are bravely battling cancer. There will be a next year, and another race to find a cure! Run for a Reason :)

    • langor1

      God Bless you Brian! Race volunteers were ready to brave the weather to support all of you that were supporting St. Jude.

  • Davken

    To everyone who is whining ad complaining about the marathon being canceled, shut up. Go run around your house 100 times u rats.

  • Joe Williams

    I was out and about tonight… Roads are mostly DRY… Reports have it that a majority of the volunteers and medics were refusing to show up @ the race due to the temperatures. Sad but about true to form for the people of Memphis. Fair weather people is an under statement!!! Black eye for the city and St Jude decision makers to let this happen. People spent a lot of time and money to get here to support a great cause. Memphis representing!!!

  • Skeptic

    Like it or not, the decision was probably a liability issue. Even if the streets are mostly clear, there will be someone slip and fall and try to sue the City or St. Jude or someone for not clearing to ice. It’s a shame that society has become blame someone else and not be responsible for yourself.

    • mel

      The roads and sidewalks had black ice, which is invisible. I know because I slid twice on walkways.

      PLUS there was a downed tree on the course and other trees covered in thick enough ice that their strength was tested. People think ice is light but it isn’t. I have seen ice fall off a roof and nearly shatter a piece of glass. I have also seen it sink onto the ground.

      And YES AutoZone park was still a rink with the ice.

      It was a safety thing… And people not realizing the city also made the decision or think ice wasn’t a danger really haven’t been in that kind of weather.

  • mel

    I would like to say I am SHOCKED at some of the responses here about canceling the event and why.

    For starters, not all of us run the marathon. I was going to do my first St. Jude event here and it was the 5K.

    Was I heartbroken? Yeah, double because I traveled from Texas to attend.

    But, I work in the media (not this one) and have had to out my life in danger many times. These include covering the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008, a shootout and a tornado with love pipelines down around me.

    Oh and a few ice storms all over Texas, once nearly hot by a tree that fell due to the weight of the ice.

    I could tell you of my ice storm stories alone but most wouldn’t have the stomach to hear them.

    So yes… Knowing that this was the right call. Shadyac wasn’t the only one in that decision… Also yell at the city, police and EMS or the third of the volunteers who had to cancel or those who needed theit help.

    He is however being generous giving the option to transfer the registration to another event or get a refund. In the actual registration, it says on the FAQ that this is not done – period.

    They also opened up the VIP event to EVERYONE, which was normally for those who raised $1,000.

    So, if anything it’s that they’re not covering transportation, etc. to the next one I think that’s got folks bugged.

    In the end, this is for the kids, and I think ZERO of them want anyone harmed or killed doing the race for them. I walk for one parent there and he said Shadyac made good call.

    If you are complaining of the cancellation, you either haven’t dealt with ice in the outdoors in your life or you have the wrong priority.

    • medl

      By the way, that is downed power lines that were still carrying electricity. And yes, I’ve covered a story that involved them and STILL haunted by the scene.

      I have also injured my shoulder falling on black ice which is ice that is so clear it looks invisible. THIS type of ice was on the sidewalks and streets of the race in places so that was also why the choice… It was liability.

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