St. Jude Runners Finish Memphis-to-Peoria Run

Published 08/02 2014 09:45PM

Updated 08/02 2014 10:39PM

PEORIA - Doug Valentine considers himself a pretty avid runner.

"I try to run several days a week," he said.

There is always that one race, each year, that he can, now, never run a way from.

He said, "I knew about the run. I was always a cross country runner, but I never had the guts to do it, until last year."

Valentine, along with one hundred and seventy other runners embarked on the 450 mile St. Jude Memphis to Peoria run earlier this week.

Each one of them has a different reason to run, including Valentine.

"I've been around it my whole life, since my sister Laura was diagnosed as an infant," he said. "I remember being 3-4, going down to Memphis. It went away. it came bac in early 2000's, 2001, and she ultimately passed in January of '04. She's definitely on my mind for all of the run."

This is the thirty third year for the run.

35 other cities hosted smaller runs, and the runners met up with those coming from Memphis to finish the last let of the journey.

They finished the final leg today, meeting together in downtown Peoria.

Valentine said, "The last leg we do today, where we're back in Central Illinois, and everybody knows what we're doing and there's a lot of supportive people. All the lack of sleep and run that you've done just immediately evaporates.

Valentine knows that the money they raised during the week goes to something more important than the run itself.

"I remember when we went there 20 years ago, the hospital was not nearly what it is now in size," he said. "Just to see that, it's really great to see the strides that they're making."

Which is why he pushes himself, mile for mile, on this physical, and emotional, journey.

Nearly 2200 people participated in the 36 different runs.

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