The Run is not a competitive event, nor a test of physical educance - you can run what you can. You can be assured of the support of the entire CU Run team. If you are not an experienced runner, and you are looking for a feel for a total minimal distance, expect to run the fist mile out of Champaign, the last mile into Peoria (over the Bob Michel bridge), and one or two segments in between. With some of the easier run segments less than 7 miles total. You'd be surprised....you'll probably run even more than that!
We have some very experienced runners who will run over 30 miles over the 20 hours, but those are our hard-core runners! Many will run 20 miles, and new runners put in about 8-10 miles.
20 Hours is a Long Day. Are there Any Breaks?
Absolutely! The 100 mile relay run over a 20 hour period is not easy, but we do plan for breaks along the way. Around 4AM we make a 2 hour scheduled stop at the Dixie Truck Stop in McLean. There you can simply get some sleep, eat breakfast, or even take a quick shower.
As the day goes on, we have several hosted stops where some very kind people provide us with water, Gatorade, fruit, and snacks. One of our favorite stops is about a 45 minute pool stop in Tremont. It is perhaps one of the most refreshing dips in the pool you could imagine!
What kind of shape do I need to be in to participate?
Ok, lets be honest here, this is, after all a 100 mile relay run to Peoria. You should be able to run at least a couple of miles, preferably without stoping (see the next FAQ). If you are not a runner now, about a month's worth of training should prepare you for the run.
Participating does not require you to be a runner. We can always use drivers for our chase and sleep vans. After all, it's about helping the children of St. Jude, and we are grateful for whatever help we can get!
What if I can't finish a segment?
That happens more often than you might imagine. A chase van drives behind the runners, with the side door open and the middle seats removed. One wave of the hand, and you fall back into the chase van to catch your breath (this isn't about physical prowess--it has been, and will always be about the children of St. Jude). What is important is that you are contributing!
Oh yeah. About the van...most of us who use the van generally will jump back out just before the completion of the segment. You know...to make it look like you ran the whole way (no shame in that - even the experienced runners do it - especially nearing the end, and they've already run 25 miles).
Do I have to be a fast runner?
This is NOT a race. Each run segment is run as a group -- the pace is determined by the slowest runner. There are a few realities here: the inexperienced runners naturally can't run as fast or as far as the more experiences runners. The easier run segments (flat runs of 2 miles or so) tend to be run by the less experienced, and the longer segments by the more conditioned runners.
Bottom line--don't worry. It all works out just fine.
Hold your horses! I'm a fast runner! A gazelle! What about me?
Again. This is NOT a race. If you are a fast runner, you will be pacing with the slowest runner in the group. However, we do have pre-determined fast segments built into the route that have new runners hiding under blankets. These faster segments are designed to let the deer-like (or if your prefer, gazelle) runners do their thing.
The segments, pacing, and runners just simply find their own balance, and despite how chaotic this sounds, we always arrive in Peoria right on time.
Seriously. Is there always someone running?
Actually, at least two.
Part of the concept of relay running is that there are always runners on the ground--with one exception. If the weather is dangerous (e.g. lightning in the area), we will suspend that portion of the run. Safety of the runners is absolutely paramount to us. We've been doing this for many, many years and have developed rules and guidelines to keep everyone safe.
How much money do I have to raise to run?
In a word: $1,000. And we'll be your guide along the way...it's not unusual to raise more than that through personal contacts.
Being a runner for St. Jude is truly an honor and privilege. Raising money is part of the process to ensure that participants are serious about helping the children of St. Jude. If you have never heard of the St. Jude Runs before, it is difficult to convey the experience you will have, at the new friends you'll make, and an incredible sense of doing something really wonderful for children you will most likely never meet---but their lives will be positively affected by what you do.
How much of the money I raise goes to St. Jude?
Simple answer---all of it. Every dime.
The Run is self-supporting. Coordinators and volunteers raise money for each of the city runs. This money comes from individual and corporate donors and it is their money that is used to rent the transportation, pay for the gas, keep us fed and hydrated.
What am I doing when I am not running? Seems like there could be a lot down time.
In the first hours of the run, adrenaline keeps you going. You reconnect with runners you met at our pre-Run event held a few weeks earlier. As the evening wears on, and your natural bedtime come up, you'll probably want to catch a few z's on the bus (we rent a large tour bus for runner transport). Your z's will be in short bursts however---it is customary for the runners who have been kicking back on the bus to get out and cheer the arrival of each of your new friends.
If you are new to running, you probably will have planned to run at least once during the middle of the night.
I want to be a volunteer, but I'm not a runner. What can I do?
Absolutely there's a place for you! We have limited, but definite, need for drivers and can-shakers. Drivers and can-shakers (those folks who canvas the areas as we pass through, looking for cash donors) are an integral part of the CU Run experience. Just let us know how you'd like to contribute!
In the past, we've had runners who've had an injury that prevented them from running participate as a driver. They are that dedicated to the St. Jude cause!
Volunteers (non-runners) are not required to raise donations to participate.
After preparing for the Run, raising money, staying up all night, physically pushing my body to the limit--what do I get?
A really cool t-shirt!
....and new friends and a post-run carb-filled dinner in Peoria. But more importantly, you've helped extend the life of a child whose parents would trade places with you in a heartbeat.
I'm in...what's next?
We'll keep it simple. Contact us at and let us know that you would like to participate in the CU St. Jude Run. We'll get back to you with everything you will need to know!
You may even have more questions. We'll be happy to answer them all!
Looking forward to welcoming you into the St. Jude Run family!