We had donuts, coffee, hot chocolate, cookies, and juice boxes along with cold temperatures and wind that wouldn't quit blowing where we were; we're thinking the buildings created some sort of wind tunnel for us. But, we were on a very important corner (Madison Avenue and Third Street, which was also at the top of a hill) and were able to see all of the runners come past us in the beginning of their races. We had horns, vuvuzeuals, cowbells, tattoos, stickers, pom poms, posters, banners, music, and most importantly tons of people wearing green that were there to cheer on every runner, especially anyone we say wearing green!!
The first race was the 5K and the majority of our people ran it. Craig had Madison and Lindsey running with him and I had Ingram cheering with me; both of our parents and my sister, brother-in-law, and niece also did the 5K. It was a very emotional start to our day as we both had family members that had never done a race and didn't even know if they would be able to finish the race giving their all for Ingram. There were so many of the girls' friends whose entire families had signed up for the team and were running and raising money as a family to support Madison and Lindsey in their quest to fight for Ingram.
The second race was the Half-Marathon and the Full-Marathon and once again there were a lot of "Green" folks running in it. By the time they passed our station (between mile 3 and 4), the majority of our 5Kers had made it back in time to start hooting and hollering for all the runners. We literally cut the road down by half from all the people we had on each side of the road cheering for everyone; Ingram even took turns on top of Craig's shoulders giving "Hi 5's" to all the runners as they came by. Our crowd also handed out about 1500 Ingram the Conqueror bands to runners as they flew by and it was very moving to see people stopping and making their way over to Ingram to shake his hand or give him a hug...while they were running!
Once the runners came through, we packed up our station and moved the party to tour second Cheer Station on the corner of Monroe Avenue and Danny Thomas Boulevard. Since we had already been up since 5am, we had Dominos deliver lunch at 9:30am and it was delicious. Who ever knew that pizza that early in the day for lunch would be the best idea ever! We were able to see both Half-Marathoners finish and the Full-Marathoners passing on to their next set of miles towards their finish line. We had so much fun there and enjoyed celebrating with the runners as they were finishing their race and even passed out donuts and pizza to them as they were on their final stretch to the finish line.
We have been so overwhelmed by people raising money to St. Jude for obvious reasons, but when we have family members, friends, and strangers pushing themselves to do something they don't even think they can do for Ingram, it puts a totally different level of importance and committment and emotion to it. I don't think I can adequately say how much this race meant to our family this year, but we are totally and completely overwhelmed by everyone's generosity and determination more than anyone can imagine. We want everyone to know that they are our Hero just as Craig said Friday night at the Pasta Dinner and that we pray that every person at the race, whether they were running or cheering, was deeply impacted by the kids of St. Jude and encouraged to keep raising money to find cures and save lives.