Track coach to start preparing, fundraising for St. Jude International Marathon


PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI) – A local teacher will lace up his running shoes and pack his bags for an international marathon while raising support for a world-renowned hospital that treats children with cancer.

Murray Collum has run several marathons for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and later this year he will head overseas for the cause.

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“I’m going to Berlin Germany to run the Berlin marathon in September,” said Collum.

Collum found out his international marathon destination during a reveal party, attended by family, friends, sponsors, current and former patients of St Jude.

Collum’s journey as a St. Jude Hero – a race participant who also sets a fundraising goal, began several years ago.

“My wife is a St Jude survivor and the first year I ran the half marathon for her, next year I ran for another little boy who has Pontotoc roots, and then I met this little girl, Lily Baker from Oxford,” said Collum.

He is now captain for Team Lily named after five-year-old Lily Baker, who battled leukemia for two years, but was officially declared cancer-free in October.

Team Lily has raised more than $20,000 for St Jude, and Lily knows the importance of each dollar donated.

“Well, I like to raise money, because raising money can save kids lives and it can do so much more for the patients there,” said Lily.

Collum has taken part in marathons in New York City, Chicago and Memphis and is looking forward to training and raising money leading up to the race in Berlin.

He will have help from his running partner, Dr. Vernon Rayford, who is also making the trip to Berlin for the run.

“We’re fortunate that St Jude is our pediatric cancer hospital, there are children all over the world and country who will travel great distances to St Jude,” said Dr. Rayford.

Lily’s mother appreciates the show of support for her daughter, and countless other children.

“I think cancer has affected many people’s lives, more than just children, I would say, please open your hearts, don’t overlook the commercials, don’t look over people asking for donations, this is something that saves children’s lives, like Lily,” said Nichole Baker, Lily’s mother.

Team Lily will join forces with a current St Jude Patient, to become Team Lily – Team Deuce.