The Insider’s Peek at the San Diego Route

Earlier 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 done one of these location-specific route peeks for every 2015 3-Day event. (Curious about the other 3-Day events’ routes? Click away for the Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth routes.) Today, last but not least, it’s the San Diego 3-Day’s moment in the spotlight. Let’s see what Event Planning Manager Emily and Local Events Coach Kim had to say about this year’s San Diego route!2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0536

Do you know of any major changes to San Diego’s route from last year? – Kim shared that there are some minor changes to the route but, “It should pretty much be the same as it has been in the past. And in the past it has been AWESOME!” Emily added, “There will be a new pit stop on Day 1, after the Torrey Pines hill. It’ll be in the same area, but a slightly different location. It likely won’t change the route at all. The biggest changes come on Day 3. We’ve been looking at changing up the Participant Finish Area (formerly known as “Holding”), so this year it will be at Embarcadero Park South, right on the water. Some of you may recognize it as a former site of the Closing Ceremony from many years ago. The end of Day 3 will have an adjustment to the route through downtown, taking walkers closer to the waterfront, with the Closing Ceremony still taking place outside of Petco Park.”2014_3DAY_SD_JF_1337 2014_3DAY_SD_JF_1423

What, if any, geographical challenges does San Diego’s route present (i.e., are there hills? Poor sidewalks? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?)? – The San Diego 3-Day event does have some notorious hills, but nothing our tenacious walkers can’t handle. Emily summed it up: “There’s a big hill on each day, and general hilliness on all three days.” Kim added some detail about the big three hills: “There’s the Torrey Pines hill on the first day, which is a gorgeous walk up a large hill. Day 2 has one short but tough uphill on Narraganset Street. On Day 3, there’s a long portion along the canal, which, thankfully is flat, but can be hot if the sun is bright that day, and then we end up in Old Town for the Juan Street hill, which is a tough one. So YES, train on hills!”2014_3DAY_SD_JF_1170 With some unique sections of route, Kim and Emily have a few added notes: “Torrey Pines is a protected nature reserve, so there are certain restrictions: no boas, ribbons, balloons or music are allowed in that area, so there will be a drop point for those prohibited items prior to heading up the hill (walkers can pick their items up back in camp). Extra sweep support will be at the bottom and top; no vehicles are allowed in the reserve, but our route safety crew members and the San Diego PD will be on bikes keeping an eye on everyone. There’s almost always a stop right before those big hills or before big stretches of no sweep access.”2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0270 2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0322 And while you might be quick to assume that the weather in San Diego will be perfect (and it usually is pretty darn close), Emily reminds walkers, “Walking in November could be overcast and drizzly along the coast, and it does get cold and damp at night, because we will be camping right on the water. But to walk by the coast for the majority of the route and feel that clear, crisp ocean air is a really a unique thing about the event.”2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0935 2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0398

Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – Like we’ve seen on every other route peek, the local coaches are always very eager to brag about what their events have to offer. 2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0363 2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0841Kim shared, “Every day is amazing in San Diego. Some of my favorite highlights are walking through Del Mar Village with their HUGE several-blocks-long cheering station. Walking along the coast heading up to Torrey Pines is so picturesque, as is La Jolla Cove (don’t forget to look for the sea lions!). And that is just Day 1! On Day 2, I would have to say that Sunset Cliffs is by far my favorite part, and on Day 3, the highlight is walking through Old Town and all the amazing support going up Juan Street hill.” Emily confirmed and added why she loves the San Diego 3-Day route: “The Del Mar community cheering station is amazing. They decorate everything pink and hundreds of people come out to support. The uniqueness of each beach community is so much fun. There’s time on the boardwalk, so you get a real taste of the surfer beach culture. Sunset Cliffs is spectacular. You go through Mission Park and get a great stroll along the waterfront and through Seaport Village. The neighborhoods are all so unique in their own way!”2014_3DAY_SD_JF_1075

Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the San Diego route? From Kim: “There are hills and you should train for them, but most of the walk is relatively flat. Be ready to take lots of pictures of our gorgeous coastline and fun towns. San Diego is known for the community support and 2015 will not disappoint!” Emily added, “Overall, the route and the event experience itself encompasses such a great variety of everything San Diego stands for and has to offer. From North County, down to the beach communities and the Bay, to downtown…it just really captures the essence of what San Diego is all about. The ocean, the history, all the key spots you would want to visit anyway while you’re there. You just hit all the cool spots, you couldn’t really do much better.”2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0417 2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0252

The Bottom Line – San Diego, being the final 3-Day event of the year, is always a big celebration with a great, fun vibe from start to finish. The hills can certainly be challenging, but if you’ve worked hills into your training, you’ll be fine. And while it’s unlikely that we’ll experience bad weather in beautiful Southern California, we did have the infamous storm of 2010, so anything can happen. As always, keep an eye on the weather in the days prior to the event, and prepare accordingly.

The Insider’s Take – San Diego was one of the first 3-Day events I walked, and is the one I have participated in more than any other (walked there four times, crewed there twice). There’s a good reason why the amazing California coastal locale draws more walkers every year than any other 3-Day: it’s breathtakingly beautiful, and the community support is second to none. San Diego is one of the most fun and lively 3-Day cities there is.2014_3DAY_SD_JF_0930

One Final Friendly Reminder – Don’t forget to keep that lively, celebratory San Diego attitude alcohol-free. Consuming alcohol during a long-distance walk can be dangerous, and alcohol is prohibited at all 3-Day sites, including pit stops and camp. If you do leave the route while you’re walking, for any reason, make sure you don’t get left behind. If you see the “caboose” (that’s a 3-Day staff member on a bike), that’s the end of the line of walkers, and once she has passed, we can’t guarantee that walkers behind her will be supported. Keep your hydration choices to water and sports drinks.

The Insider’s Peek at the Dallas/Fort Worth Route

Earlier 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, Seattle, Philadelphia and Atlanta routes) and today, it’s the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day’s turn to shine. Let’s see what Event Planning Manager Kiki and Local Events Coach Gayla had to say!susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide

Do you know of any major changes to the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day route from last year? – Veterans of the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day will notice quite a few changes to the route they’ve been familiar with for the past few years. Kiki shared that there are some adjustments to the route on Day 1 and Day 3, and that we’ll be using some new parks for pit stops on all three days. “These are places walkers haven’t seen in the past, which is exciting. We’re definitely showing walkers some trendy new neighborhoods in the Dallas area.” She added that the most significant changes will be seen on Day 2. “We heard feedback about how particularly rough the big blue bridge in Addison was for the walkers. So it’s gone! We will get to see more of Addison (I love that city!) as well as see parts of some other charming Dallas neighborhoods.” Gayla added, “You won’t be disappointed! We’re visiting some areas we have walked through in the past and some new neighborhoods, so expect awesome support from new residents and cheering stations along the way.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide

What, if any, geographical challenges does the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day route present (i.e., are there hills? Poor sidewalks? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?)? – Kiki and Gayla agree that, while Dallas/Fort Worth is the one 3-Day route that is seeing the most changes in 2015, it is still the least demanding route, in terms of geographical challenges. “One thing walkers don’t have to worry much about on the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day is hills.” There are some inclines (impossible to avoid completely), but no major mountains to climb. Both Kiki and Gayla mentioned that a fair amount of walking will be done on sidewalks (as opposed to trails or soft road shoulders), so walkers should prepare by training on curbs and sidewalks with driveways. Gayla, who joins training walks with Dallas/Fort Worth walkers on a regular basis says, “Believe it or not, those tiny little repeated steps and inclines can do a number on you, so be prepared for them. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the path for those sneaky tree roots trying to make their way to the surface. Sweep vans are readily accessible, so have no fear.” North Texas in November shouldn’t see terrible heat, but Kiki did point out that there’s not a lot of shade on some parts of the route, so hats and sunscreen are a must.susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guidesusan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide

Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – The event planners and coaches love when I ask them this question, and are always ready to brag about their locales. Gayla, a North Texas native, said, “Get ready for some very cheerful elementary students to greet you on Friday. They LOVE it when the walkers pass by their schools, so get your high-five hands ready!” She continued, “There are several ‘BIG’ statues around Dallas promoting Big D’s ‘Big Things Happen Here’ celebration, and walkers will have great opportunities to pose as the ‘I’ in these statues all over town. susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guideThe last stretch in Downtown Dallas you’ll be smack-dab in the middle of a cattle drive (bronze cattle statues that is). Get your cameras ready for some cool pics on the last few miles before the finish.” Kiki, on the other hand, is not from Dallas/Fort Worth, so she offers a different perspective: “While I’m not new to the 3-Day, I am newer to the production side of things with the Dallas/Fort Worth event. What I have loved about my visits to the area and my work on planning the route is that I feel I get a real sense of all that Dallas and nearby cities have to offer. And I think my perspective as an ‘outsider’ has allowed me to find some really great new spots for the route.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide

Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day route? –Kiki loves that “Everything here feels spread out, but not in a negative way. It doesn’t ever feel congested with lots of crowds or traffic. All three days will feel like a casual Sunday stroll showing the best of the best of what the Dallas/Fort Worth communities have to offer.” Our Texas gal Gayla adds, “Dallas/Fort Worth is ‘urban meets wild-wild-west.’ Being born and raised here, and having participated in the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day many times, I can say with no exaggeration that there’s never part of the route that I don’t love.”susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide

The Bottom Line – The Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day is a wonderful slice of the great American west, with a healthy dose of slow, friendly southern charm. While walkers don’t have to worry much about hill training, the demands of walking long distances on flat ground peppered with small steps and curbs is still something to prepare for.

The Insider’s Take – My first experience with the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day was last year as a staff member, and while I wasn’t walking the 60 miles or working on the crew alongside the participants, I did spend a lot of time out on the route and in camp, taking in the Texas experience (including one of the most gorgeous 360-degree sunrises I’ve ever seen in my life). I can say that the people in and around Dallas/Fort Worth were some of the nicest folks I’ve come across in my years with the 3-Day, and the sites along the route were one lovely location after another. I’m excited to see the changes in store for this year and have no doubt that the wonderful people who make up the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day family will continue to be the most beautiful aspects of this already-beautiful route. I’m convinced enough that I’m already registered to walk there next year!susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles dallas fort worth route insider's guide

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.