MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jonathan Autrey of Memphis, Tennessee, and Heather Parks of Bruceton, West Virginia, are the top male and female finishers of this year's St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend presented by Juice Plus+® with winning times of 2:38:23 and 3:00:20, respectively. John Payne of Germantown, Tennessee, finished with a time of 2:45 in the wheelchair full marathon.
The top male half-marathoner, Brandon Dwork of Memphis, Tennessee, finished with a time of 1:08, and top female half-marathoner Jordan Hamric of Morgantown, West Virginia, came in with a time of 1:20:34.
For the second year in a row, Lauren Paquette, of Memphis, Tennessee, crossed the 5K finish line first setting a new record at 16:06 in this category, which she previously held. Adam Sommers, also of Memphis, Tennessee crossed the finish line with a time of 16:23.
The biggest winners of this year's marathon are the patient families of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, thanks to St. Jude Heroes who embraced the mission and raised $8.2 million to help save the lives of children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
This year approximately 21,500 people registered for race weekend and more than 60 percent traveled from outside the metropolitan area, boosting the local economy by an estimated $20 million at area restaurants, hotels and shops. Tonight they have access to an exclusive Avett Brothers concert at 6 p.m. in the Cannon Center.
Marathon weekend is a collaborative effort between ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Memphis Runners Track Club. Enormous television screens were placed along the course, showing patients cheering them on, as well as volunteer cheer stations and bands. Unique to this event is the race route through the St. Jude campus where patient families cheer from the sidelines to remind walkers and runners they are running for a greater purpose – to help ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
"Participants often tell us that running through the campus during St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is one of their most inspiring and motivating experiences," said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "They run for a reason – our patients, their families and for those who inspire them. Congratulations to Jonathan Autrey, Heather Parks and to all the participants and St. Jude Heroes who helped raise more than $8.2 million to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude."
Presenting sponsor Juice Plus+® organized a company-wide team with 105 participants from 16 states and the United Kingdom, raising more than $58,000.
"Our partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is grounded in our mutual commitment to improving the health of children everywhere," said Jay Martin, president and founder of the Juice Plus+® Company. "The Juice Plus+ Company is proud to support the St. Jude Memphis Marathon as the presenting sponsor for the 14th year. We offer a heart-felt thank you and congratulations to all participating runners and top finishers."
Sponsor Landers Ford left a memorable impression by wrapping a vehicle with the names of participating St. Jude Heroes. Those who registered to participate in the races in the month of May were also registered to win a 2016 Ford Explorer. At the start line, spokesperson Don Kitchens announced Bennett Coffey as the winner of a 2016 Ford Explorer.
This event would not be possible without the support of many, including presenting sponsor Juice Plus+®, sponsor YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South, official training partner Breakaway Running and national St. Jude Heroes coach Kevin Leathers, among others.
Final race times for all participants will be available at stjudemarathon.org.
About the St. Jude Memphis Marathon® Weekend
Since 2002, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® has organized the St. Jude Memphis Marathon® Weekend in partnership with the Memphis Runners Track Club and presenting sponsor Juice Plus+® to include a marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay, 5K, kids marathon and family fun run. Since the event's inception, the St. Jude Heroes program has raised more than $40 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. For more information, visit stjudemarathon.org.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook (facebook.com/stjude) and following us on Twitter (@stjude).
About Juice Plus+®
Juice Plus+ has been the presenting sponsor of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon® Weekend since 2002. In addition to supporting the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend through monetary donations, Juice Plus+ hosts a Spirit Station and more than 100 employees and their families participate in the races each year. Juice Plus+ is a whole food based nutrition made from quality ingredients – including juice powder concentrates from 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains – in a convenient capsule or chewable form that helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day. Through its One Simple Change initiative, the company inspires people to lead a healthier lifestyle by making small changes today that can lead to great health benefits down the road. Like St. Jude, Juice Plus+ is deeply invested in children's health, as well as the health and nutrition of people worldwide, which it supports through the Juice Plus+ Foundation and the Juice Plus+ Children's Health Study. To learn more, visit www.JuicePlus.com.
About Landers Ford
Landers Ford is the official vehicle of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. In the months leading up to the event, the dealer donated $25 to support the mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the name of anyone who test-drove its Ford vehicles.
SOURCE ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital