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My St. Jude race experience: running for the children was good for my health

Brittany Holst —

It had been three years since I last took part in a St. Jude Memphis Marathon, so I was happy to join the 20,000 participants this year.

On Saturday (Dec. 3), I walked and jogged in the 5k (3.1 miles) run event for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. Other events offered were 10k (6.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles) and full marathon (26.2 miles). 

The events raised $12.8 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Memphis hospital specializes in the research and treatment of children with childhood cancers and life-threatening diseases. 

Through the donations raised, children and their families can focus on winning battles, overcoming illnesses, and not stressing over finances. St. Jude promotes that no child shall be refused treatment due to finances. 

After my coworkers and I registered for the event, I started doing things to prepare myself for the race. 

I would walk around the work complex on my breaks, go bike riding Downtown, and drink plenty of water. 

The Thursday and Friday before the race, participants had to pick up their race packet at the Renasant Center, which included a bag, t-shirt, wristband for those over the age of 21, and your runner’s bib. 

The Health & Fitness Expo also was taking place, so after getting your packet, you could walk around to the different vendors to shop and pick up informational packets. 

The day of the race, I woke up early and met my coworkers Downtown so we could walk together.

Traffic was crazy so once we parked, we got an Uber to get us as close to the starting line as possible. We ended up starting the event after everyone, but we were happy we made it. 

For December, I expected cooler temperatures. The temperatures in the 60s were perfect and the wind supplied a nice breeze. 

While walking, I met a lot of people, some were the family of cancer survivors, who were treated at St. Jude, and the survivors themselves.

Some were walking in honor of a loved one, and some, like me, were there in support of the cause. 

The route of the 5k went through the St. Jude campus and it felt good seeing the supporters lined up with bells and signs encouraging everyone to keep going and thanking us for taking part. 

Brittany Holst with her DSV Air & Sea co-workers. (Courtesy photo)

My coworkers and I crossed the finish line within an hour, except for Trent Lackey, an avid runner, who finished within about 30 minutes of starting the run. 

Lackey, an avid runner, said, “It feels fantastic to be able to be a part of the St. Jude Marathon event. Not only am I supporting a wonderful cause that positively affects the lives of countless people, but I also was able to test my mettle and push myself physically-which is always such a pleasure and blessing. Also, the celebration afterward is always quite a party because there is this feeling that you’ve ‘earned it’.” 

After crossing the finish line, runners were greeted with water and fruit before heading to AutoZone Park for soup, beer, more water, coffee, pizza, and music.

It was nice to see the attendees talking, laughing, and rejoicing over the event. 

“I run a good many races, but Saturday was my second time participating in the St. Jude event officially. I did ‘ghost run’ the half marathon when it was held virtually to support a few buddies, but I ran the full marathon last year and it was an absolute blast,” Lackey added.

DSV Air & Sea St. Jude race participants (l-r) Trent Lackey, Emanuel Knecht, Melissa Brooker, Veronica Zacher, Brittany Holst, Shenika Hunt. (Courtesy photo)

Our branch manager Emanuel Knecht said, “I enjoyed the race much more than I thought. I was in favor of doing it but the whole picking up the bag, number stuff, starting at 7 a.m. did put me off a bit. 

Brittany Holst (Courtesy photo)

“I think the best thing for me was actually to see at the end that everybody seemed or said that they thoroughly enjoyed it, so I would definitely do it again,” 

Jokingly, Knecht added, “Maybe the 10k that starts at 8 a.m.”

I have focused more on my health lately, maybe because I turned 30 earlier this year. I set a goal to finish the 5k within an hour. I felt proud of myself accomplishing my goal. 

My future goal is to run a 5k in 30 minutes or less and eventually get to the point of taking part in half or full marathons. 

(Brittany Holst is a periodic contributor to The New Tri-State Defender, including her iMom column.)

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