EL PASO Ill -- 27 years ago, when the Bloomington-Normal St. Jude Run began for the first time, a passerby would not have seen a herd like this
125 runners participated in this year's run.
"We have got about 40 people with us this time who are doing this for the first time, said co-coordinator of the run," Dennis Cler. "That's what we want to get. We want to keep getting new people on board."
While the faces have changed with more and more runners joining the cause, one small neighborhood in El Paso, Illinois is a familiar pit stop for the group.
"Every year we try to do it to the best of our knowledge," said the pit-stop host, Clara Harvey. "We do it with the help of everyone who donates and the parents of children who are afflicted with different types of cancers. It is overwhelming. People should come and see for yourself. "
El Paso resident, Clara Harvey has been hosting the event at her home since the beginning, providing a much needed refueling for the runners.
Following a short break, the Bloomington Normal runners continued their journey down Route 251 towards Eureka, which is just one leg of their 54 mile trip.
While the run may be challenging at times, runners say every step is worth it.
"Yeah, it's a long journey. You get hot and you get tired. Your shoes stick to the pavement and stuff like that. Someone made a comment one time that it is a lot easier than the kids doing chemo."
One El Paso father knows just how hard it is for his child to go through treatments.
His 13-year old son, Gavin, has been diagnosed with cancer twice.
He said watching the runners pass through his hometown gives his family hope.
"It means everything to us because we've been through this for two years now. It's neat to see what they produce."
This year, these runners raised $210,000 for St. Jude, not including telethon numbers.