Thousands gather for St. Jude Memphis Marathon

(WMC-TV) - Thousands turned out for the 10th annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend Saturday.

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon, Half Marathon and Memphis Grizzlies House 5K were sold out.

"If I'm going to run 26.2 miles, I'd rather run it for this purpose than to just be running," said Valisha Edwards from Dallas, Texas.

Many participants, including Edwards, traveled a long way to get to the starting line.

"What better cause than to somebody who gives services to kids with cancer and diseases for free," said Edwards.

Each year, a special group of race participants called the St. Jude Heroes raise additional funds through pledges from friends and family.

"I don't think there's a more important cause because of the children," said Gwen Guillotte of Lafayette, Louisiana.  "You just can't turn away from the kids who need that support."

St. Jude's research has impacted survival rates for childhood cancer from 20 percent when the institution opened to almost 80 percent today.

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