Runners raise money for St. Jude

Blood, sweat and tears: A group of runners faces all three every year to help save the children of St. Jude.

For 35 years, a dedicated group of runners takes turns to travel more than 450 miles. That includes a man with local ties.

The runners start at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee and run relay style to the midwest affiliate in Peoria, Illinois.

Their journey includes part of Highway 51 in Wickliffe, Kentucky, and Cairo, Illinois.

One of those runners is Lee Hall, who used to visit family in west Kentucky every year.

He now works at NBC affiliate WEEK in Peoria.

Thirty-one years ago, he covered the run and became a runner himself.

We spoke with him Monday as he recalled a special moment in a small Illinois town in the middle of the night that inspired him.

"My legs hurt. I was tired. I was feeling sorry for myself. We got out of the van, and there was a young girl named Beth. And she was on crutches and missing half a leg. She was a patient who came out to see us in the middle of the night," Hall recalled. 

Last year, the Memphis to Peoria runners raised more than $1 million, and they’ve raised nearly $16 million in the past 35 years.

They’re in our area Thursday.

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