Vicksburg natives Anna Kate Doiron and her father, Phillip Doiron, finished the virtual St. Jude race together Saturday, Nov. 14, making them two of the first participants of the first virtual marathon hosted by the Memphis children’s hospital.
Both Anna Kate and Phillip began training in June during the height of the pandemic. They met on some weekends in places like Lake Bruin, Louisiana, to train in preparation for what would be Anna Kate’s first marathon.
They traveled to Oxford, Mississippi, last weekend where they had plenty of supporters cheering them on. Anna Kate and Phillip ran distance of 26 miles in 4 hours and 58 minutes.
During the race, Anna Kate and Phillip made it to Taylor, Mississippi, where some of Anna Kate’s closest friends held signs and cheered them on. Phillips’s wife, Kara, was waiting at the finish line to congratulate her daughter and husband.
Anna Kate posted her excitement on her Instagram page where she shared a photo with her father after completing the marathon.
Phillip, Executive Director and CEO of the Vicksburg YMCA, was thrilled to be able to share his love of fitness with his daughter.
“What started out as a fitness goal turned into some of the best memories that I have had in a long time with her,” Phillip said.
Anna Kate, who was the 2017 valedictorian of St. Aloysius High School, is now a senior at Ole Miss majoring in integrated marketing communications. After the race, the Doiron family stayed in Oxford and continued celebrating as the Ole Miss Rebels defeated South Carolina 59-42.
The race, an annual fundraising event, began in 1977 as the Memphis Express Marathon, and became St. Jude Memphis Marathon in 2002. Since then, it has raised more than $60 million to support the hospital and allow countless children to receive free health care.
St. Jude marathon organizers knew they could not cancel the hospital’s largest fundraiser due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they reinvented the way racing is done. The 19th annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend transitioned to an interactive virtual experience taking place over four-months, beginning in August and culminating with a virtual race day Saturday, Dec. 5.
Heather Mullins Williams contributed to this story.