Saturday, April 26th marked the 15th Annual Country Music Marathon. More than 30,000 wheelchairs, runners and walkers made their way through the city of Nashville. Participants were from more than 50 states and 23 countries with 70% being from out of town. In addition to raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which faces daily operating cost of $1.8 million, the city of Nashville benefited as well with participants booking more than 25,000 hotel rooms, eating at restaurants and spending tourism dollars in our great city.
Advance Financial had more than 25 volunteers come to hand out orange slices and cheer on participants at our store on the corner Rosa Parks and Jefferson St. Our night shift teller began slicing oranges around 3:00 am and the rest of the volunteers began arriving around 6:30 am (which was no easy task considering all the road closures). We all got to slicing, putting up our tent and waiting with anticipation for the first runners to come through.
DJ Twoee joined us and started pumping out the tunes. We were located at mile 11 for both the marathon and half marathon, and at about mile 15.5 for the full marathon runners. The first runners started to come through around 8:00. We began with about 500 oranges and went through those pretty quickly. After three trips to area grocery stores (and actually buying one of them out) we purchased approximately 1,000 more oranges. That’s approximately 12,000 orange slices. The runners were so appreciative.
Everyone worked extremely hard, but it was all worth it. Our CEO, Tina Hodges, was also able to put her nursing skills to work by helping one woman with a horrible leg cramp. It’s so rewarding when we get together as a group to give back to the community. We always have a great time.
The weather was perfect. Scott Wietecha and Jeanette Faber were the men’s and women’s winners in the full marathon and Joseph Chebet and Gisela Olalde were the winners in the half marathon. View a full set of race results. In true Nashville fashion, there was live music at every mile and the day was followed by a celebratory concert that evening featuring, among others, some of the stars of the hit show Nashville.
There are any number of reasons to run a marathon (or half marathon), one of which may be just to learn what it means to not give up. The children and families of St. Jude know this better than most. They and their families face horrible circumstances everyday and never stop hoping, never stop believing, never stop running the race. Nashville is proud to help St. Jude achieve the goal of finding cures and saving the lives of children battling cancer and other deadly diseases. What a great way to spend a Saturday.