CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- As temperatures dropped with the setting sun, runners began prepping for the 35th running of the Karen Lawrence Run for St. Jude in Downtown Chattanooga. When it was all said and done, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga runners Paul Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) and John Gilpin (Nashville, Tenn.) finished one-two in the 4.2 scenic run.
Stuart, a sophomore on the Mocs cross country and track teams, finished the double-loop race in a time of 23:51.03 with Gilpin just behind with a time of 23:54.04. The pair helped lead Chattanooga to a third place finish last fall at the Southern Conference Championship.
Former Chattanooga runner and current Canadian Marathon record holder, Lanni Marchant, claimed the women’s title for the second straight year and finished eighth overall with a time of 24:08.18. Jan Gautier, wife of Chattanooga head coach Bill Gautier, was the women’s Master Champion.
In 1978, Karen Lawrence was diagnosed with Leukemia just before her 10th birthday. She traveled to St. Jude Hospital in Memphis for treatment but suffered a relapse in 1980 and passed away. The race began in 1979 and was run at Midnight as the New Year was rung in. The race course has changed over the years but always had its start and finish at the Sports Barn.
Participants and supporters of the Karen Lawrence Run for St. Jude have raised more than $650,000 in 34 years. In 1979, the survival rate for Leukemia was just 43 percent. Today it has a success rate of better than 92 percent.
Chattanooga opens the 2014 Indoor Track season this Sunday, Jan. 5 at the Tennessee State Invitational.