On Saturday, 20,000 runners from all over the world will descend upon our fair city for the annual St. Jude Marathon and half marathon.
If you're running the race, it means that you're not only helping further St. Jude's medical research and treatment of sick children, but you're also a much better athlete than most of us will ever be.
If you're not running, here's what you need to know:
- Both the marathon and the half marathon start at Fourth and Beale at 8 a.m. Runners make their way through Midtown and Downtown on their way to the finish line at AutoZone Park. If you live or work west of East Parkway, you're going to have some traffic delays. Here's the race map (click to enlarge):
- Parking downtown is going to be tough. If you're headed downtown to race or go to work, give yourself a ton of extra time. You can see a parking and hotel map here.
- The St. Jude Marathon is more than just the 26.2 mile race. There's also a half-marathon, a wheelchair marathon, a 5k and a family race.
- Some of the people running in Saturday's races are St. Jude Heroes. These are people who have raised money for St. Jude during their training through donations. Last year, 4,200 Heroes raised $3 million for the hospital.
- It is going to be super duper cold, so St. Jude has put together some tips to help runners deal with the weather. Some of those tips will be good for the cheering section as well.
- It's too late to register for the races, but I highly recommend getting up early and parking yourself along the race route to cheer on the runners. Bring a boom box, make some posters, dress up all crazy*. It's going to be insanely chilly, but it will be totally worth it to see the smiles from people who probably can't feel their legs anymore.
* If you really want to do something crazy to support the runners, you can join the 50 Cheering Elvi who will be dressed in Elvis jumpsuits at the start and finish lines of the race. St. Jude is providing the costumes for the first 50 people to sign up, which you can do here.
Finally, I've updated last year's 13 Places to Carb Load for the St. Jude Marathon post, so check it out if you're running one of the races, or if you're just a normal human person who likes carbs.