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.

3-Day April Meet-up Round-up

April was a busy month for our Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches, who were pounding the pavement at meet-ups and training events, meeting and inspiring walkers for the Komen 3-Day events coming up in just a few months.  Let’s see some of the fun and inspiring local events that our 3-Day® family held in April!

Michigan

On Saturday, April 11, walkers and crew members gathered at the New Balance store in Farmington Hills for the Michigan 3-Day 16-week Training Kick-Off Event. A beautiful (if slightly chilly) morning saw nearly 40 walkers head out on a 4-mile training walk, while crew members patrolled the route on their bikes and motorcycles. We even had a cheer station and a sweep van! After the walk, participants enjoyed some snacks and shopping.

MI tkoe_2015

Twin Cities

Twin Cities 3-Day coach Stephanie hosted a walker and crew Meet-Up on April 1 at Lucky 13 Restaurant in Bloomington. Five new walkers attended and got lots of great tips from our veteran walkers and crew.

Lucky13April1MeetUp

Springtime temps brought these 21 walkers out on April 11 for a Walk & Talk with Coach Stephanie. They enjoyed a 6.5-mile walk around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis (part of our Day 1 Route).

TC lake walk and talk april

And in keeping with the training spirit, Twin Cities walkers enjoyed a Get Trained Workshop on April 18, hosted by Run n’ Fun, one of the Twin Cities’ local outfitters. Proper shoes are the most important pieces of equipment walkers will need on the 3-Day, so workshop attendees learned about proper shoe fit based on their own body mechanics, and learned that not only is comfort the key but also how the right shoe helps to prevent injuries.

tc april get trained

Seattle

At an April 2 Get Started Meeting at Redmond Library, long-time Seattle (and other cities!) walker William Kline attended in full walking gear—his signature look. He was joined by a few brand new walkers and Tath, a very active training walk leader in the Lynnwood area.

Redmond GSM_4.2

On April 18 at Seward Park, Seattle 3-Dayers met up for a Walk & Talk with Coach Aubrey. They looped around the peninsula, which offered 2.5 miles of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier views. The walker on the far right (Tina Marie B.) came all the way from Oregon to walk with the group!

Seward Park_Walk & Talk_4.18

Another Walk & Talk, held on April 30 in Renton, included a 2-mile out-and-back along Lake Washington. The group included two members of the Breastketeers and three first-time walkers.

Coulon Park on Lake Washington_Walk & Talk_4.30

Philadelphia

Over 30 Philadelphia 3-Dayers met up on April 18 at the Philly 3-Day 24-week Training Kick-Off. Hosted by the New Balance store in Cherry Hill, NJ, the event included a training walk and some great how-to demonstrations for packing gear and pitching a perfect pink tent. A great day!

PHL 24 week TKO april

Atlanta

The Atlanta 3-Day folks had their first Walk & Talk of the season on April 4, with wonderful training walk leader Coleen and 5 new walkers. It was a beautiful day, and it was great for these enthusiastic walkers to get some walking shoes on and meet some new friends!

ATL April 4 Walk and Talk

On April 11, Coach Susan hosted a great Get Started Meeting with 3 new walkers and one who was thinking about registering. Susan shared, “We had terrific conversations about training as they were most concerned about how in the world they were going to walk 60 miles! After the formal meeting, we spent even more time answering questions and getting to know one another. It was great to see everyone come together and make connections with each other.”

ATL april 11 GSM

Dallas/Fort Worth

At a Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day meet-up on April 2, Coach Gayla was joined 80-year-old veteran walker and extreme fundraiser, Ralph M. He helped welcome and inspire other walkers at Luke’s Locker in Highland Village.

4-2-15 Meet Up Luke's Locker HV

Gayla was back at another Luke’s Locker location on Saturday, April 4 for a Walk & Talk, accompanied by training walk leader and team captain of Angels for the Cure, Debby R. as she led a 3-mile training walk.

4-4-15 W&T Luke's Locker Plano

April 11 was a busy Saturday for Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Dayers, starting with a 3-mile Walk & Talk with training walk leader Sheryl C. and many members of team STEPS in Plano. Later in the day, the Get Started Meeting at Methodist Hospital in Richardson drew a crowd of brand new walkers who were encouraged by amazing team captains and veteran walkers.

4-11-15 GSM Richardson

The Greater Fort Worth Susan G. Komen® affiliate held its Race for the Cure on April 25, and the Komen 3-Day community was well-represented (there were many more walkers not in the photo). Even folks who weren’t walking or running in the race were still showing their 3-Day spirit as volunteers (Pink Hair Guy is a popular photo op every year).

4-25-15 GFWRFTC PHG3

San Diego

April was actually a quiet month in San Diego, in terms of local events, but things will ramp up in May. (Next month’s Round-up will include some great shots of the San Diego 3-Day reunion held on Saturday, May 2…stay tuned!).

If you couldn’t make it to a meet-up in April, don’t worry! There are still local events for every 3-Day city in May, and more and more training walks are being added every day. Visit the 3-Day website to find a local event near you.

One Big Celebration That Lasts for 3 Days – an Atlanta 3-Day Recap from Guest Blogger Cati S.

Cati Stone is the Executive Director for Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta, and a breast cancer survivor. This year, she was honored to be one of twenty individuals selected as Models of Courage in Ford’s Warriors in Pink® campaign, recognizing inspiring breast cancer survivors and co-survivors. And if all of those things don’t make Cati incredible enough, she has also been a faithful Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walker for several years, and was nice enough to share some thoughts after walking in the Komen 3-Day in Atlanta earlier this month.

 

“This year marked my 4th time walking 60 miles in the Atlanta 3-Day. My amazing teammates from Team Diamond Stone (also known as the Boo Bees) have always included those closest to me: my Daddy, my sisters, my mother in law, my best girlfriends.  We talk all year long about preparing for the 3-Day.  We talk about fundraising and blisters and fundraising and logistics (and did I mention fundraising?).  We talk about how much fun we had the prior years and about how much fun we are going to have the next time.  And then the event happens, and we take a year’s worth of preparation and turn it into one big celebration that lasts for 3 days.  We celebrate my having beaten breast cancer, but we also celebrate birthdays and new babies and just about anything else we can think of.  We literally sing and dance our way down the street (this year’s dance du jour being the “Tight Pants Dance” from Jimmy Fallon’s show) and then come home at night and sing and dance some more.  We are loud and silly and we don’t care who knows it!  But we care deeply about finding a cure for breast cancer.  In fact, this year we were recognized as the 9th largest fundraising team for the Atlanta 3 Day!  In our 4 years, we have raised over $100,000, and we’re not finished yet!susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog cati stone models of courage warriors in pink atlanta

“A highlight to this year’s walk included walking with some very special new friends – Aimee, Tracy and Karen, all of whom are fellow breast cancer survivors and Ford Models of Courage.  We all met last spring when Ford brought us together to be a part of their amazing Warriors in Pink program that raises money for breast cancer (over $125 million so far!).  I fell in love with these ladies instantly, and walking with them in this year’s 3-Day heightened the entire experience for me.  They are true warriors.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog cati stone models of courage warriors in pink atlanta

“Tracy’s daughter made this video to show what the 3 Day meant to her, and I think it sums things up nicely.   It truly is a beautiful experience.  http://youtu.be/9eDpqj76FgE

Thank you, Cati, for sharing your experience with us! We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta again next year!