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.

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

The Insider’s Peek at the Seattle 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 in the year 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 and Twin Cities routes) and today, it’s the Seattle 3-Day’s turn to shine. Let’s see what the Event Planning Manager Emily and Local Events Coach Aubrey had to say:

  • Will there be any major changes to the route from last year? – Emily had this to say: “Nothing major, but there are a couple of changes that past walkers will notice. We have new lunch sites on Day 1 (because of construction) and Day 3 (based on feedback from last year). We’re looking at some stretches that could be longer, gradual hills as opposed to shorter, steeper climbs. Of course, I’m saying that as a local who is used to hills!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
  • What, if any, geographical challenges does the Seattle route present? (i.e., Are there hills? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?) – All right, Seattle walkers, let’s get right down to it: Seattle = hills. There’s no escaping it. Aubrey had this to say: “Seattle is extremely hilly, particularly on Day 2. Participants should train on hills that are long and winding. If they are near Kirkland or Redmond, those are great hills to train on, but long switchbacks would also help someone get adequately prepared for our hilly terrain.” Emily adds that it’s not just the Seattle route that’s inclined toward inclines, it’s the whole Pacific Northwest region: “We’ve been asked if we can change the route to make it less hilly, and we take the feedback seriously. We see how we could maybe shorten the hills or find ones that aren’t as steep, but there’s no way to get away from them completely. But remember, what goes up must come down!” Emily also added, “We’re keeping the crew aware of the walkers’ needs and prepping the crew to help. For example, on Day 2, when there’s not much going on at camp during the day, we’ll use some of the camp teams and vehicles as extra sweep support.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
    The Day 1 route takes walkers across the I-90 “floating” bridge over Lake Washington (gephyrophobes, be warned) and Emily reminds us, “The bridge is wide open, and if it’s warm out, being over the water will help keep you cool, but there’s no shade and no sweep van access on the bridge.” (Sweep vans will be available before the crossing for anyone who needs them.) Emily continues: “On Day 2 there’s a big hill right as we leave camp. We’re looking at alternate ways to get around the steepness of that hill, but there’s no other way out of camp to go up and over and get to downtown Kirkland and the waterfront.”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
  • Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – Aubrey is quick to gush about what her city has to offer the 3-Day walkers: “Day 1 brings great views of downtown, a walk across the I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington and the Botanical Gardens. Day 2 offers fantastic views of lakes, beautiful homes and photo ops at the tops of the hills. Day 3 is great for Gas Works Park on Lake Union, a walk through the funky neighborhoods of Fremont and Ballard, the Ballard Locks (where walkers will likely see seals), the gorgeous homes in Magnolia and a stroll through the downtown waterfront section to close off their weekend.” Emily adds, “Walkers get the best features of what makes Seattle so wonderful: Lakes, green forests, the Space Needle, Seattle Center, Pike Place, the Ballard Locks, Mercer Island, Gas Works Park. We hit so many of the cool little neighborhoods of Seattle: Hippie Fremont, the big beautiful homes of Magnolia, the cool little ‘beach town’ of Kirkland on Lake Washington. Over the years, by trial and error, we’ve tried different routes and sites, and we’ve really come up with the best of Seattle, as great as we can make it (and as flat as we can make it!).”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route
  • Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the Seattle route? – “What I love most is the beauty of the natural landscape: the water, the mountains, the vibrant colors,” says Emily. “The parks are wonderful, but also the unique aspects of the different neighborhoods of the Seattle area. It’s the Pacific Northwest, it’s hilly, but that’s the Northwest! That’s what makes it so unique. That’s what Seattle was founded on, a series of hills, so in essence, that’s what Seattle is, so the more you can embrace it, the better Seattle experience you’re going to have!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog seattle route

The Bottom Line: You probably picked up on the major theme from the rest of this post: Seattle has a lot of hills. Our hope is that walkers will look at those climbs as motivating challenges, and reminders that what they’re doing, though difficult, is nothing compared to the uphill battles that too many of them and their loved ones have faced because of breast cancer. Part of the purpose behind these route peeks is to give walkers a heads-up months before their events, so that they can prepare and train the best they can to get themselves ready for their 60-mile journeys, and this is especially true for a challenging route like Seattle. The real bottom line is, if you’re going to be walking in the Emerald City, train on hills. There’s no better way to prepare yourself. Then, when you get there in September, strong and well-conditioned, you’ll be able to really take in the beauty and charm of Seattle, no matter what the elevation is.

The Insider’s Take: If I ever decided to move away from California, I’d head straight for Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful corners of these United States, and I feel like the Seattle 3-Day—which I have walked twice and crewed once—has a little bit of everything: forests and lakes, friendly suburban neighborhoods with incredible community support, and a city-centered Day 3 that will pretty much check off every Seattle tourist site you’d want to see on a trip there. Yeah, it has hills. Lots of hills. I happen to not really mind hills, but if you mind hills (or even if you don’t), you’re definitely going to have to make them a focus of your training, including both steep inclines and slow steady climbs. But you can handle it. I know you can. Keep your eyes up and don’t let gravity get the best of you. Plus: Starbucks. Lots of Starbucks.

 

Great stuff, right? If you still have questions or concerns about the Seattle 3-Day route, pick up the phone and call Paula, your Seattle 3-Day coach, at 800-996-3DAY (select option 7 for Seattle), or email seattlecoaches@the3day.org.