St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend goes virtual due to coronavirus concerns

St. Jude Memphis Marathon changed to virtual runs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Another Memphis tradition impacted by COVID-19.

This December you won’t see thousands of runners take over the streets of Downtown Memphis for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.

“Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend will be a virtual experience,” said Richard Shadyac, President and CEO of ALSAC.

The virtual experience will allow the 19th annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend to take place in a number of cities, now that participants can choose from the following three options.

  1. 1-Race Challenge: complete a 5K, 10K, half or marathon on race day;
  2. 2-Race Challenge: complete two distances (5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon) in the months leading up to and on race day; or
  3. 4-Race Challenge: complete every distance (5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon) in the months leading up to and on race day.

“This would be my fourth time traveling to Memphis for this weekend,” said Dawn Goins.

Goins who lives in New York understands the changes and plans to still participate in the marathon weekend.

“What St. Jude is doing is so important, and so virtual or not, race or no race, I had already decided that I had to continue what I set out to do,” said Goins.

Goins admits not coming to Memphis and running among others will be very different.

“There’s nothing like that feeling when you run through that St. Jude campus, there’s nothing like it in all the world,” said Goins.

Goins is just one of thousands of runners who come to Memphis for the marathon.

Malvin Gipson with Memphis Tourism says last year the city saw about 30,000 visitors for the event. He says this year they are working to help St. Jude.

“We’re still going to reach out on the virtual side, it’ll be something new and something different, but at the same time it’s going to help St. Jude hopefully reach their goal,” said Gipson.

Gipson said Memphis is doing better than other areas in the region when it comes to leisure tourism.

He also said there’s already plans to host the 2021 St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend.

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