The Insider’s Peek at the Atlanta 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’ve been giving you one of these more in-depth route peeks for every 2015 3-Day event (we’re more than halfway through, already having seen peeks at the Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle and Philadelphia routes) and today, it’s the Atlanta 3-Day’s turn to shine. Let’s see what 3-Day Event Planner Brian and Atlanta 3-Day Coaches Tara and Susan had to say:

  • Do you know of any major changes to the Atlanta route from last year? – Folks who walked the Atlanta 3-Day last year will see lots of familiar sights, as there are no big changes from 2014’s route. That said, the team reminds us that there’s always potential for last-minute changes as we approach the event in October.SUsan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles atlanta route peek insider's guide
  • What, if any, geographical challenges does Atlanta’s route present (e.g., are there hills? Poor sidewalks? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?)? – Susan and Tara were both quick to respond with the biggest challenge Atlanta 3-Day walkers can expect: hills. Tara told me, “Many people complain about the hills, but Atlanta is a hilly place and there’s no way to avoid them. Walkers should prepare to walk those hills in order to see the beautiful sites the route does have.” Susan adds, “You may want to curse them from time to time, but you’re going to get a real treat with our route. Make sure that you train with that in mind.” SUsan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles atlanta route peek insider's guideSusan also shared, “Most of the route is pretty urban, which means that you’ll be doing a lot of walking on concrete. Sometimes the sidewalks aren’t in perfect condition because we will be walking through some of the older, more historic areas.” Brian also shared some non-hill related input. “Atlanta in October is pretty mild, but can get hot. Some short portions of Day 1 between Stone Mountain and Decatur follow a trail, so there will be no direct access to sweep vans (those wonderful 3-Day-staffed vans that pick you up if you can’t walk anymore) on those parts, but once walkers reach Decatur, sweep van access is plentiful. The mileage is full on Day 1 and 2 (22 and 20 miles, respectively), and we may increase sweep van access locations on those days if the needs demand it. There are some locations with no sidewalk, so we’ll have coned-off walking paths on the shoulder of the road and plenty of police support. There’s also limited sweep van access through Piedmont Park on Day 3.”SUsan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles atlanta route peek insider's guide
  • Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – Susan was quick to boast about her city’s route. “I absolutely love this route! It manages to take you through some of the coolest parts of Atlanta. On Friday we start at Stone Mountain which is very uniquely Atlanta. On Saturday, you’ll walk through some beautiful residential neighborhoods and will walk by the Governor’s Mansion. Sunday takes you through Piedmont Park, a true gem in our city, then through some more historic neighborhoods (picture Driving Miss Daisy) and past the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.” Brian and Tara also listed off their favorite spots along the route: the Botanical Gardens; Downtown Decatur and Little Five Points (fun shops and boutiques); downtown Buckhead; Peachtree Street, with lots of restaurants and shops; World of Coke and Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta; the campuses of Georgia Tech and Emory University; Freedom Trail bike path. Whew!SUsan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles atlanta route peek insider's guide
  • Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of Atlanta’s route? – “Although the route is the same as it’s been the last few years,” Tara said, “we are working to amp up the community involvement even more, and have lots of cheering sections and business out to support our walkers.” Brian had this to say: “The Atlanta route really provides a good historical aspect of our southern roots. From the Opening Ceremony at the foot of Stone Mountain underneath the carving, to the downtown neighborhoods of Atlanta and the MLK historical center, highlighting the civil rights movement. Downtown Atlanta shows the progress of a modern southern city embracing its heritage.” And Susan summed it up beautifully, saying “What I love most about the Atlanta 3-Day is that you are basically getting a walking tour of the city’s rich history. In addition to that, Atlanta is a city full of warm, Southern charm.”SUsan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles atlanta route peek insider's guide

The Bottom Line – Hearing that your chosen route is loaded with some big, challenging hills can be a source of anxiety for a lot of walkers, but that’s exactly why we’re giving you these route peeks. For walkers coming to Atlanta in October, there is still plenty of time to work hills into their training routines and show up at Stone Mountain well prepared. The American south in October will be a tableau of beautiful fall colors, but the weather could easily swing from cool mornings to toasty afternoon sun, back to chilly evenings, so be sure to dress in layers. Like Michigan and Philly, the Atlanta 3-Day camp is indoors, which makes camping a breeze.

The Insider’s Take – My team and I walked in Atlanta last year, and it was lovely. Simply lovely. The city and surrounding areas are full of vibrant history, natural and manmade beauty, and quirky charm. The people—everyone from cheering station supporters who praised us like we were their own family, to the local shopkeepers who thanked us for walking by not charging us for our frozen pops, to the congenial police officer who took the time to tell us a little bit about the neighborhood while we waited to cross an intersection—are some of the kindest and friendliest folks you’ll ever meet. As for the hills? They didn’t faze me, but in all fairness, I’m not usually too troubled by hilly walking. My take is the same as it is in any other hilly 3-Day locale: train on hills, and you’ll be fine with the hills. And as with all the 3-Day locations, Atlanta is a place to just keep putting one foot in front of the other while taking in the sights and sounds of a world getting closer and closer to being rid of breast cancer. That’s a view that looks great from anywhere.

See What Other Bloggers Are Saying About the 3-Day!

This year, we’re pleased to have several bloggers involved with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® who are sharing their adventures on their own blog sites. Follow the links below to see what these wonderful walkers are saying about their Komen 3-Day experience!

Meghan C. (Atlanta 3-Day) – “My Breast Exam at 29 and Walking 60 Milessusan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog jamonkey meagan cooper blogger walker 60 miles

Jamie R. (Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day) – “Susan G. Komen 3-Day: Do Something Hugesusan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog jamie roubinek reality blogger walker

Trina O. (Philadelphia 3-Day) – “3 Days. 60 Miles. Why I am Doing it Again!susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog trina o'boyle obo y! organic blogger walker

Jessica C. (Philadelphia 3-Day) – “10 Reasons to Sign Up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog jessica cohen eat sleep be blogger walker and “What to Pack for the Susan G. Komen 3-Daysusan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog jessica cohen eat sleep be blogger walker

Krystyn (Atlanta 3-Day) – “I’m Doing Something Huge… Will You Support Me?”

ReallyAreYouSerious

Crystal – “Hey Cancer, You Lose!susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog crystal and co blogger walker

Hey, speaking of packing, you can join the online conversation about this important aspect of your 3-Day preparations on our Packing Tweet Chat, taking place tomorrow, July 16, 5:15 p.m. PDT. Find out more about joining the chat here.3DAY_2015_SocialMedia_FacebookMeetUps_v2a

Have you spotted stories about the 3-Day elsewhere on the web? Be sure to share them with us on our Facebook page!

Find Last-Minute Fundraising Success With These 8 Tips

For our Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers who are headed to Michigan, the event is less than a month away, and for everyone else, your Komen 3-Day event isn’t far behind. There is so much to be excited about, but some 3-Day® walkers may also find themselves stressing out as they inch toward Day 1 and still have not reached their fundraising minimums. The anxiety of that ticking clock doesn’t have to signal doom though, even if your event is just a few weeks away. See below for some time-tested tips that will push your last-minute fundraising through to your goal.3DAY_2015_SocialMedia_FundraisingFriday_004

Set a Deadline – This is a great little fundraising trick to use all the time, but especially when you’re crunched for time. The pressure of a deadline is a powerful motivator for just about everyone, including your donors. The deadline can be whatever you choose, though you should make sure your donors get their online donations in no later than the Monday before you walk (two weeks prior to that if they’re mailing their donation in) . Reach out to all your potentials—by email, Facebook, face-to-face, whatever it takes!—to share the deadline and encourage them not to wait any longer.

Follow-Up – Remember back to the beginning of the year, when you sent fundraising emails out right after you initially registered for the 3-Day? And remember all those people who replied and said, “I’ll definitely donate, but I’m going to wait until later.” And then remember how that was the last you heard from those folks? Now is time to follow up with these wonderful “procras-donators” and very sweetly remind them that later is now. Send a personal text or email and tell them how much their donation will mean to you and to the cause.

Divide Up the Balance – Take the amount that you have left to raise and divide it by the number of days until your event. That’s how much you have to raise (at least) each day in order to reach your goal. Share this number with your donors and ask them to donate in that amount. Sometimes the unusual dollar amount (“I need $41.07 every for the next 4 weeks!”) is just catchy enough to inspire someone to give.

Increase Your Facebook Activity– Perhaps you’ve already tossed up some posts on Facebook about your participation in the 3-Day, and maybe even made some donation requests. As you approach the final countdown to your event (starting one month out or so, I’d say), update your status on a daily basis, let people know exactly how much left you have to raise, and divide up the balance as mentioned above. Did you know that posts with photos are more likely to be shown in your friends’ Facebook feeds? But sure to include a shot of your lovely face with your posts!

Delegate – Think of five of your most spirted, ambitious, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer friends or family members, and ask them to help you. Assign of them the task of procuring five (or whatever number you choose) donations each, or set some dollar amount for each of them to aim for. By delegating in this way, you’ll be able to reach potential donors (your friends’ friends and coworkers) who aren’t even in your circle.

Recycle for Cash – If you live in an area that has recycling programs that will give you cash for your empty bottles and cans, this can be a great way to drum up a few hundred bucks. Distribute trash bags to your neighbors, your office, your gym—any place that generates a lot of recyclable trash—and tell them you’ll return in a week to collect whatever they’ve saved up. Then take it to the recycling center and walk away with some green. (Long time 3-Dayer Jim has been extremely successful with recycling for donations. See his story here.)

Go Where the People Are – It’s summertime and people are out and about everywhere—the beach, parks, outdoor concerts and movie nights, parades. Throw on your 3-Day t-shirt or other pink ribbon gear, grab some friends or your kids, give everyone a bucket, and go where the crowds are. The more elaborate and eye-catching your efforts look (how fun would it be to bling up some pink bras and send your crew out in those?), the more you’ll be likely to inspire donations from complete strangers.

Shorten Up the Ask With a Text – It may sound crazy, but for some people, an email or Facebook message just isn’t short or fast enough. For these donors, craft a brief, catchy text message and send it their way via text message. Add a picture (a selfie sporting your best “pretty please” face, perhaps?) and don’t forget to include your personal URL. One simple tap on their smartphones, and your donors will be taken to the 3-Day mobile site where they can donate quickly and easily, no matter where they are.