PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Crossing the Bob Michel Bridge into downtown Peoria, runners from the 40th annual Memphis to Peoria Run completed their journey. All-day Saturday, “Satellite Runs” took place across Central Illinois, benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“I come back every year,” Eric Duvall, a runner for the Chillicothe to Peoria Run.
Leaders of the Chillicothe to Peoria Run said they’re proud to raise the most money out of the other satellite runs.
“Chillicothe— a small town— has been hit so hard with childhood cancer,” Cari Horack, a runner for the Chillicothe to Peoria Run.
Coordinator Rick Lingenfelter spoke to the group of about 50 runners and led them in a prayer before taking off the 31-mile trek.
“That energy continues all day long,” Horack said.
Over in East Peoria, runners took a break before the next stretch of road and stopped at a lemonade stand to honor a former St. Jude patient and son of long-time participant Corey Pennington.
“It’s rewarding to be a part of something where the community is really behind it,” Pennington said.
Pennington used the run to keep his son’s memory alive.
“We are taking his shoes. This way Nathan can be a part of our run with us,” Pennington said.
People also ran with the Richwoods High School to Peoria Run. It’s in its 17th year.
“It is so much fun, we have a blast,” Toby Peplow, a runner for the Richwoods to Peoria Run. “Essentially, we’re just out here to raise money for St. Jude and really have a fun day.”
Many of the satellite runners joined the Memphis to Peoria crew as they complete their journey outside Peoria’s Civic Center. Down on the riverfront, runners congregated to celebrate.