Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Williamson to run for St. Jude


Lesa Williamson takes a photo during the 2019 Rock N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas Courtesy Photo.

Malta's Lesa Williamson is going to Vegas!

But, not simply for a vacation, she is going to run in the 2020 Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon (RNR) to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hosptial in Memphis, Tenn. Her race takes place on Sunday, November 15, which is also the deadline for her fundraising.

Though she has run in three half marathons, including in last year's Las Vegas RNR event, Williamson has yet to run the length of a full marathon (26.2 miles), even in her training.

"The farthest that I had run is 19 miles," Williamson said. "I have tried training for a marathon before and had gotten injured, so hopefully this time I can do it."

In the 2019 Las Vegas RNR event, Williamson raised $1,500 for St. Jude despite only setting a goal of $1,000. This year, she is aiming for $3,000. She said that she was appreciative of those that have supported her fundraiser last year.

"It is very fulfilling," Williamson said. "I am constantly getting Emails from St. Jude with updates from kids there."

Williamson said that during her fundraising she often receives emails telling her where her funds went directly.

"They would say, you just paid for so and so's blood transfusion today," Williamson said.

According to her husband Shey, out of the 40,000 runners at the event, only a couple hundred runners donate to St. Jude.

"St. Jude is a cancer research hospital," Lesa said. "The kids of St. Jude never see a bill of any kind and that is what this fundraiser is for."

The donations provide treatments for the patients and give the families a place to live while their children go through treatment. Meals and travel expenses are also paid.

Williamson had previously run in the Heart & Sole 5K in Billings, runs in Helena, and various runs around the community of Malta.

Lesa Williamson runs in the 2019 Malta Beer Run. Photo by Pierre Bibbs.

The RNR event gives runners a different experience as they run down the Vegas Strip, which is shut down to traffic, during night time. During the run, there is live music at every mile.

In addition to her fundraiser, Williamson encourages anyone wanting to run in the event to sign up. The RNR events happen throughout the summer, fall, and winter months and consist of distances from one mile to a full marathon.

Williamson said she began running after she suffered a heart attack in 2007.

"To make my heart stronger," she said mentioning that her last cardiologist visit was in 2008. "He said that my heart was stronger than an average heart and told me not to come back but to keep running."

Donations can be made on Lesa Ulrich Williamson's Facebook page as well as her website


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