MEMPHIS – It’s technically pre-season time for the Memphis men’s tennis team, as the team finishes fall semester exams and looks toward their January-opener against Indiana to start the dual season. But before the sprints to run down the tennis balls on the court begin, the Tigers will join 22,000 other runners who are in town for the St. Jude Marathon Weekend. The Tigers will run in the 5K portion of the event, which features four sold out races (marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K).
Each race in the St. Jude Marathon weekend passes through the campus of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research centers. Families who have a child receiving treatment at St. Jude’s never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food to allow them to focus on their child’s health. The annual marathon is the largest single-day fundraiser for St. Jude and the Tiger men’s tennis team has joined the fundraising challenge, looking to raise $1,000 for St. Jude.
Senior men’s tennis player Shakeel Manji is the captain for the team for this weekend’s run. He and his teammates have set up a page to fundraise for St. Jude HERE. This is the second St. Jude event the men’s tennis team has done according to Manji. The team also participated in the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk in his freshman season in November of 2014.
“St. Jude is an incredible organization based in our great city and we have personally been fortunate enough to spend time with the families of St. Jude and it’s been one of the best things we have been a part of,” Manji said. “As a team, we wanted to contribute to the fundraising efforts to say thank you. Taking part in the run this weekend will be a great experience for us and we know the money we raise will help those families who need the support and expertise that St. Jude offers.”
The fight against pediatric cancers is personal to the men’s tennis squad as Tiger senior Ryan Peniston was a pediatric cancer patient when he was young back in his native UK. One of the nurses who helped Peniston in his battle against childhood cancer had received additional training at St. Jude and Peniston has gone on to become an American Athletic Conference all-conference singles player for the Tigers.
The Memphis men’s tennis team, who has gone to five NCAA tournaments in the past six seasons, kicks off its 2018 spring season on Jan. 20th against Big 10 foe Indiana. That 6 p.m. match will be played indoors at The Racquet Club of Memphis, the home of the Memphis men’s and women’s tennis teams.