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E City Runner hopes to help in childhood cancer fight

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Jeffery Hall is seen running on Parkview Avenue while training to compete in next Saturday's St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday afternoon. Hall hopes to raise at least $1,000 in the fight against childhood cancer and pediatric diseases.

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By Julian Eure
Managing Editor

Monday, April 22, 2019

Next weekend, Jeffery Hall — the self-named “E City Runner” — hopes to both complete his first marathon and raise at least $1,000 in the fight against childhood cancer and pediatric diseases.

Hall, of Elizabeth City, will be among the estimated 30,000 runners taking part in the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday. The six-hour race, part of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, is a fundraiser for the St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Hall, who registered as a “St. Jude Hero” for the 26.2-mile race last month, acknowledges he’s new to marathon running. In fact, he’s new to running period.

Hall says he ran a 5K a few years ago, but that was the extent of his running for a while. He says he took it back up again after losing a job, and he’s been running pretty regularly ever since. 

“I just get up in the morning now and start running. It helps clear my mind,” he said.

Hall, who helps out his brother at his restaurant, Uncle Chuck’s Soul Food Cafe, says he now runs four or five times a week. He usually runs a 4.6-mile route that takes him along River Road, Parkview Drive, past Elizabeth City State University, along the city’s waterfront, down Ehringhaus Street and back along Weeksville Road.

Hall said he got the idea to participate in the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon after his cousin, Charles Howe, asked him to return to Nashville — Hall once lived in Tennessee — to help out for a few months with the band stages Howe manages there for music festivals and concerts. 

Hall, who says he’s been on a “health kick” as he works to start a career as a personal trainer, said he knew the marathon was coming up in Nashville. So he got on the internet, looked up when the race would be held and decided to sign up.

That was March 22. Since then, he’s been physically and mentally preparing himself for the challenge of completing a 26.2-mile run by working out at Planet Fitness in Elizabeth City. He also participated in last weekend’s TarWheel Century, completing a 122-mile bike ride in about 14 hours. He said he actually ended up riding farther than he intended because he got confused about the course he was supposed to be riding.

Hall was pleasantly surprised by how his body reacted after the long bike ride. 

“I got up Sunday and my body told me, ‘Let’s go.’ So I’m ready. I’m so ready,” he said.

Hall says he proceeded to go out and run three miles.

To further tune up for next Saturday’s challenge in Nashville, Hall attempted a 26.2-mile run on Sunday — the first time he’s ever run that distance. He said he plans to follow that up with a “small run” on Monday.

Because he’s also committed to the challenge of trying to raise money for St. Jude’s hospital, Hall has also tried to promote his participation in the marathon. He created a page on Facebook called the E City Runner, where donors can go and check out his plans and see videos of some of his runs. He gave an interview to ECSU’s WRVS radio station last week, promoting the run. He’s also printed up flyers explaining why he’s running as a St. Jude’s Hero. They contain the charity’s famous motto: “To help make sure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should have to worry about is helping their child live.”   

Saying he hopes to “represent Elizabeth City” at the Nashville marathon, Hall also plans to hold what he’s calling a “sign and sendoff” event at Planet Fitness on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. He’s made up a banner that states “Elizabeth City Supports the E City Runner” that city residents can sign. He plans to carry the banner to Nashville and have it displayed at several of the music stages along the race route.

As of Friday afternoon, Hall said he was about a quarter of the way toward his fundraising goal of $1,000. He seemed confident he’d make the goal by the time of Saturday’s race.

Hall said he doesn’t have any sponsors — he paid his own entry fee for the race — but he is trying to raise some money for some expenses by selling “I Support the E City Runner” T-shirts for $10. The shirt’s logo contains a large “E” in running motion. Hall said he plans to share a portion of any proceeds from the shirt sales with Food Bank of the Albemarle.

Hall says he plans to document both his trip to Nashville and his participation in the marathon on Facebook Live. His cousin, Howe, will be live-streaming Hall’s run on the E City Runner page.

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