The Insider’s Peek at the Philadelphia Route

In February of this year, we treated our readers to The Insider’s Peek at the 3-Day Route, where we gave you a detailed look at the planning, work and execution that goes into creating the routes for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® Series. While that two-part Insider’s Peek was full of tasty details, it didn’t explicitly address the particulars of any specific Komen 3-Day location.

Until now!

It seemed like a natural progression to go from an expansive overview of 3-Day® route-planning in general to a more pinpointed look at each of the seven 3-Day events. So I’ve been picking the brains of the event planning team and local coaches to get the skinny on what walkers can expect. Sharing this information early on will help walkers prepare for their events, train for what’s to come and know what exciting high points to look forward to.

We’re publishing one of these location-specific route peeks for every 2015 3-Day event (we’ve already enjoyed peeks at the Michigan, Twin Cities and Seattle routes) and today, it’s the Philadelphia 3-Day’s turn to shine. Let’s see what Event Planning Manager Missy and Local Events Coach Joanne had to say:

  • Will there be any major changes to the Philadelphia route from last year? – Missy let us know that, “The current route features the very best of downtown Philadelphia, as well as some scenic suburbs and historical small towns, so there will be no major changes from 2014 to 2015.”philly lovely skyline Day 3
  • What, if any, geographical challenges does the Philadelphia route present? (i.e., Are there hills? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?) – Joanne laid out a few features of the Philly route that walkers should be prepared for. “There are portions of the route on Day 1 and Day 2 with no sweep access, but walkers will have advance warning so they can get into a van before these sections, if they need to. On Day 3, this is kind of funny, but once walkers pass the cheering station at Head House Square (South Street) and are heading toward Passayunk Avenue, they will come onto a street where there are ‘stink berries.’ They are some nasty smelling trees and you WILL smell them. You’ve been warned!”philly beautiful trail walking
  • Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – Joanne says, “Once walkers pass pit stop 1, at just under mile 4, they will turn onto Central Avenue and onto the ‘Bra Street,’ one of our best community cheer sections. I think this deserves a mention!” Missy adds, “Philadelphia has so much history! This route will pass by many iconic places such as the ‘Rocky Steps’ at the Art Museum, Avenue of the Arts, The Liberty Bell – the list goes on!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles philadelphia Philly Museum of Art and Rocky Steps Philly independence hall cheerleader
  • Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the Philadelphia route?  –  “This route is diverse and educational,” Missy shares. “Walking the Philadelphia 3-Day is one of the very best ways to tour the area. History, culture, cuisine, art and nature are all highlighted over 60 miles.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles philadelphia

 

The Bottom Line: The Philadelphia 3-Day route is not as physically demanding as some of the other 3-Day cities, but it’s always a good idea to train on a variety of terrains and inclines anyway. The most potentially challenging aspect of the Philly event is also the least predictable: the weather. Knock on wood, Philly in early October will be mild and generally pleasant. But, we did have one day of rain last year, and the morning hours will certainly be chilly. You’ll want to dress in layers (so pack accordingly), don’t forget those rain ponchos (just in case), and be thankful for the shelter, comfort and indoor plumbing of the convention center campsite.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles philadelphia

 

The Insider’s Take: I confess that when my teammates and I signed up to walk in Philadelphia a few years ago, as part of our “get to every 3-Day” plan, I had low expectations. There’s no particular reason why, I just remember going into the Philadelphia event thinking, “Okay. City of Brotherly Love. I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Well, within the first few miles of the Day 1 route, I was already blown away. Not only was the Philly 3-Day an incredible stroll through one of America’s most historically rich cities (a big plus for this history nerd), the community support was some of the best I’ve ever seen in all my years of 3-Day walking. I’ll never forget a Day 3 cheering station that seemed to go on forever and included a bunch of adorable little kids who had made dozens and dozens of hand-written thank you notes, which they handed to walkers as they went by. I still have mine. Well played, Philly. Well played.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles philadelphia

16 Ways to Pass the Time While Walking in the 3-Day

For most Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers, it takes about 8 hours to walk the 20-mile route each day. In my years of walking, I’ve found that even the most dazzling conversationalists sometimes run out of things to talk about during those many hours of walking. Or perhaps sometimes they just need a playful diversion to keep them focused on something fun and positive, instead of focusing on how much their feet hurt or how badly they need a porta-potty.

To help you prepare for your 3-Day® adventure, here are some mirthful ways to pass the minutes and the miles:

The Games We Play

  • 20 Questions – Everyone knows this one. Can you guess the person, place or thing I’m thinking of by asking 20 or fewer yes/no questions?
  • Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – This is a fun game for the particularly movie-savvy players. It’s based on the theory that Kevin Bacon is such a prolific actor, that he is connected every other actor in Hollywood by six links or less. To play, you pick an actor, and try to connect them, through movies/shows they’ve been in, to Kevin Bacon in six moves or less. For example: Bradley Cooper was in “He’s Just Not That Into You” with Jennifer Aniston, who was in “Picture Perfect” with Kevin Bacon. 2 moves. Boom.
  • The Movie/Actor Game – Another Hollywood-centric game, in this one, you try and see how long a chain you can make by connecting movies and actors who were in them. One person starts by naming a movie, the next person names an actor in that movie, then the next person names another movie that that actor was in, and so on. The round ends when someone is stumped on naming a new movie or actor.
  • Trivial Pursuit – One year, my teammates and I brought a stack of old Trivial Pursuit question cards and took turns reading the questions to each other. Before we knew it, other walkers around us were joining in on guessing answers. We’d even leave the cards at the pit stops when we were done, only to come across other walkers later in the day who had picked them up to join in the fun.
  • Would You Rather…? – This one’s pretty simple: come up with two scenarios (it works best if both are slightly unpleasant) and challenge each other to decide which scenario you’d rather choose. For example, would you rather have your head be the size of a watermelon or the size of a tennis ball?
  • Alphabet Games – Pick some topic or theme, and take turns naming items that match the theme, starting with each consecutive letter of the alphabet. Some of my favorite themes have been movie titles, band names, body parts, American cities/towns. There’s no limit to possible themes. Another alphabet game involves finding each letter of the alphabet on signs, license plates or even your fellow walkers’ t-shirts that you pass.
  • Presidential Checklist – I’d wager that every locale in America has something named after Washington or Lincoln. What about the other presidents? Taking into account duplicate names (your Adamses, Harrisons, Johnsons, Roosevelts and Bushes), there are 38 presidential last names. Can you spot them around town as you walk?
  • Name the Singer/Band – If you listen to music while you walk, or when you come across tunes being played at pit stops or cheering stations, this game challenges you to name the singer/band before the people around you. It’s like “Name That Tune,” with a twist.
  • Car-Spotting Games – What started out as the simple Slug Bug/Punch Buggy game (call out the Volkswagen Beetles and color before someone else does) has evolved into a plethora of car-spotting games (or it has with my family and friends, anyway). We try and beat each other calling out-of-state license plates, yellow cars, green cars, Jeeps (easily recognizable by their distinctive slotted front grill), Mustangs and more. You can add whatever layers you want to the game. Try adding a new element at every pit stop. Soon, you and your friends will be cracking up as you try to keep up remembering what you’re looking for.
  • Marry, Date, Dump – Name three people (they could be celebrities, people you know, even fictional characters). Your fellow players have to decide which one they’d date, which one they’d marry, and which one they’d dump. Hilarity ensues.
  • Two Truths and a Lie – You list three things about yourself: two of them are true and one is made up. Your teammates have to guess which “fact” you invented.
  • Orange Shirt Drinking Game – This is a game that’s 100% unique to the 3-Day, and helps keep you hydrated. It’s simple: every time you see an orange-shirted crew member (route safety, traffic control), take a drink of your water or sports drink. If it’s a particularly hot day, you could also add orange signs into the game.

Non-Game Ways to Pass Some Time

  • Talk in an accent – There very well could come the point when you’re feeling so exhausted/bored/goofy that you’ll find yourself carrying on your conversations in any variety of accents. It’s completely silly, and I wouldn’t even mention it if I hadn’t done it myself dozens of times.
  • Sing Songs – I challenge anyone to try breaking out “American Pie” or just about any TV theme song, and not see it quickly turn into a sing-along with everyone around you.
  • Stretch – You’re doing this anyway, right? But you actually can stretch while you’re walking. It won’t kill a whole lot of time, but it might be enough of a distraction to get you to the next pit stop.
  • Share Stories – This really goes without saying. So much of what makes the 3-Day so special are the stories that every single walker and crew member brings with them. As you stroll along, take the time to ask your fellow 3-Dayers to share their stories, and share yours with them.

What fun ways have you found to pass the time while you walk?

12 Things 3-Day Walkers Have to Explain to Outsiders

Anyone who’s been part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® understands that some aspects of the Komen 3-Day world may seem crazy or confusing to an outsider. Be patient. A little explanation gives these non- 3-Day® folks a glimpse into this pink world.

  1. What Connects Us – First things first: you don’t have to have a direct connection with breast cancer to be part of the 3-Day (though for thousands of folks, those personal connections have been their biggest reasons for participating). The fact is, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, so if a walker doesn’t know someone now who has been affected, chances are very good that they will some day; she may even be the one. We walk now to battle against that inevitability. Aside from that, the life-changing experience of the 3-Day is powerful enough to draw in just about anyone, regardless of their personal connection with breast cancer.
  2. Walking is a full-time job – Yes, we really do walk for three days in a row. No, it’s not non-stop, around-the-clock walking, but 20 miles a day takes around 8-10 hours for most people, so it’s pretty much all we’re doing for those three days.
  3. “Yeah, but it’s just walking, right?” – This might be the question that ruffles my feathers more than anything. “Hey, well-meaning but misguided friend, would you like to come out and take a 60-mile stroll with me, and then tell me, ‘It’s just walking?’”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog
  4. The Long Way – Speaking of extra walking, your friends may scratch their heads as to why you purposely park in the farthest possible spot at the mall, but you know the value of squeezing in some training wherever you can.
  5. Taking Care of Business – The thought of spending three days with porta-potties as the primary “facilities” might horrify some outsiders. You can assure them that the 3-Day’s temporary commodes are some of the nicest and cleanest portable lavatories there are. It’s a direct result of 3-Day walkers being courteous and hygienic when leaving their little plastic chambers, knowing that one of their fellow walkers isn’t far behind. The “bottom” line is: 3-Day people take care of each other, even whilst taking care of business.
  6. Sweeping Has Nothing to Do With Brooms – Some of your outsider friends might be concerned about what will happen to you if you get hurt while walking or can’t continue for some other reason. Explaining the concept of our helpful and creatively-themed fleet of Sweep vans will put them at ease and entertain them all at once.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog
  7. The Wonders of the 3-Day Camp – Yep. We sleep in tents, shower in semi-trucks and have an all-out dance party on Saturday night. Best home away from home ever.
  8. World’s Greatest Snack? – Two graham crackers. Peanut butter. Grape jelly. (Option: serve cold.) Come to think of it, you can skip trying to explain this one, as it defies description.
  9. Dieters Beware – I’ve had many people say to me, “You’re walking 60 miles? You must lose so much weight that weekend!” Uh, no. First of all, while walking is great exercise and the months spent training for the 3-Day can dramatically improve your overall health, losing weight on the 3-Day weekend itself should not be your goal. If there’s one thing that 3-Day walkers are, it’s well fed. Aside from the food provided at the 5-6 official route stops each day, there are also seemingly endless piles of candy, popsicles, cookies and brownies, and more, supplied by supporters all along the route. Many 3-Day walkers refer to the whole thing as the 60-Mile Buffet Line.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog
  10. You Know You’ve Totally Done This – You’re out on the sidewalk, a car honks its horn. What do you do? If you said, “Put my arms up and wave my fingers and/or give a thumbs up,” you might need to explain your behavior to an outsider.
  11. 3-peating – For some walkers, the 3-Day is a bucket list item to check off, but for many, once is just not enough. Over half of all 2015 3-Day walkers have walked at least once before and more incredibly, over 400 participants have been doing the 3-Day for 10+ years. Experiencing the magic of the 3-Day and continuing making an impact in the fight against breast cancer are powerful motivations for 3-peating.
  12. “When Will You Stop Walking?” – My answer when I get this question? When we don’t need to walk anymore, and not a day sooner.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog

 

Do you know what the best way is to explain the 3-Day to an outsider? Invite them to walk with you! Registration is still open for all 2015 events at The3Day.org/Register.