St. Jude Marathon is a special memory for local mom


Paula Head and her daughter, Carson Elizabeth

Data pix.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tens of thousands of people will race through downtown this weekend for the St. Jude Marathon. But for one mother, the race is personal.

Paula Head is one of those people pounding the pavement and pushing through pain to run for a cause. This St. Jude race will be her family's sixth half marathon.

"I had a daughter at St. Jude that we lost four years ago, Carson Elizabeth," Head said.

Carson Elizabeth was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer the day before her eighth birthday, and passed away a little more than a year later.

Head now works at St. Jude, helping patients' families that are fundraising.

"Our own daughter can't cross the finish line so we are crossing it for all those kids who can't cross it themselves," she said.

Head says running through the St. Jude campus and seeing the children affected is a feeling like no other.

"I'm very emotional on the course the entire time," she said.

Head and her family wearing arm bands recognizing their journey. Purple represents those who have lost a child to cancer at St. Jude.

"I have people on the track who come up behind me and just tap me on the back and say, 'You are the reason I'm here.' That's what these represent, because it shows everybody out on the course why they are running."

When she crosses the finish line, Head says she's almost sad the marathon is over.

"Run with the faith of a child so that one day all children may cross the finish line," she said.

► For information on the races, street closures and interactive route maps, click here.


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