2015 Philadelphia 3-Day Wrap-up

When talking about the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day walkers and crew members, one thing is certain: these are not people who back down when faced with adversity. Not even the threat of a hurricane, and the full Friday of pouring rainfall that accompanied it, could dampen these amazing people’s spirits. They arrived on the cold Friday morning, when the sky was still only drizzling, ready and motivated for the day to come. Rarely have you seen such a well-prepared bunch of individuals, decked out in duct-taped shoes, rain jackets and pants and plastic ponchos galore. No mere rainstorm was going to stop these folks!IMG_0638 IMG_0674 IMG_0573

Even with the rainy atmosphere, the Opening Ceremony–hosted by our wonderful 3-Day spokesperson Dr. Sheri Prentiss and Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen®, along with Joanne Harrington, the Philadelphia local events coach–was both exciting and touching. Walkers were wished good luck and sent on their way out of Willow Grove and through the suburbs north of Philadelphia, as the rain began falling more steadily.IMG_0699 Pit stops at local parks in Ardsley and Oreland fueled walkers on, as they continued passing through beautiful residential areas. The rain didn’t stop people, including dozens of enthusiastic school children and a cheering station in Chestnut Hill, from coming out and cheering for the 3-Day as it passed.IMG_0757 IMG_0787

Walkers got a much needed break from the now-torrential rains at the lunch stop, where they were fortunate enough to be able to eat indoors. Who knew that the floor of a gymnasium would be such a welcome place to relax? At lunch, many walkers enjoyed being able to shed their rain gear for a bit, and if necessary, replace their feet coverings for the second soggy half of the day.IMG_0845 IMG_2590

After lunch, walkers trekked on the tree-covered Wissahickon Trail and through the Historic Rittenhouse Town before turning along the Schuylkill River, past Boathouse Row on approach to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.IMG_0945 IMG_0974 There, after a brief stop at pit stop 4, walkers got another nice little span of indoor walking, as the route actually took them through the museum instead of around it, as in past years. When they emerged on the front side, walkers got a scenic (though cloudy) peek at the downtown Philly skyline, and a trip down the “Rocky” steps to the final stretch to camp at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (hooray for being indoors!).IMG_0990

The camp show on Friday brought back the hosts from the morning’s Opening Ceremony, Dr. Sheri and Chrissy, as well as an inspirational speech by 6-time 3-Day walker Jodi, who is a very recent breast cancer survivor, having just been diagnosed earlier this year. We also recognized Philadelphia’s top training walk leader, top fundraisers and Milestone Award Winner.

The rain worked its way through Philly (for the most part) on Friday, and Saturday brought chilly, but mercifully drier conditions.IMG_1159 Walkers left the downtown area for points west, including Bala Cynwyd and it’s packed and enthusiastic cheering station, and the communities of Narberth and Ardmore.IMG_1221 The route criss-crossed Montgomery Ave., past beautiful historic homes, making its way to the lunch stop at Haverford College, amidst brick and stone buildings and a quaint and picturesque duck pond.IMG_1274 After lunch, walkers began making their way back toward downtown, and passed through JFK Square, where the fountain was dyed a brilliant pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many walkers stopped to snap pics in front of the famous LOVE statue.IMG_1334 Another quick half-mile, and it was home sweet home again at 3-Day camp.

Saturday’s camp show had 3-Dayers laughing (wasn’t the costume relay race a kick?) and crying, with a powerful speech from co-survivor Jaime—a 7-time walker who does the 3-Day in honor of her mom, aunt and cousin, who are all survivors—and moving messages from the Philadelphia 3-Day Youth Corps. We also recognized Philadelphia’s Local Impact Award winner. After that, it was the always fun and crazy Saturday night dance party.

Walkers headed out on Day 3 for a breezy 15 miles. Within a few miles, they had a stroll through some of Philly’s historical hot spots, including Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied street in America, as well as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.IMG_1666 Pit stop 1 at The Porch allowed weary walkers the chance to relax in some whimsical swings before moving on.IMG_1682 The route continued through South Philadelphia, and when it passed by Geno’s and Pat’s, rival proprietors (they’re literally right across the street from each other) of Philly’s most famous culinary delight, the cheesesteak, many walkers took the opportunity for an early lunch. After the official 3-Day lunch stop at South Philadelphia High School, it was a short few miles to the finish line at the Navy Yard, where hundreds of friends and family members awaited their returning walkers with hugs and tears.IMG_1937 IMG_1903 And with spectacular timing, the sun began peeking through and clouds made way for blue skies right as the final walkers were coming home. Even though the temperatures warmed a bit with the sunshine, the beauty of it was enough to give you chills.

The Philadelphia 3-Day Closing Ceremony was once again hosted by Dr. Sheri, Chrissy and Joanne, who kept the crowd pumped up through a small technical glitch, before carrying on with an extremely touching and inspiring Ceremony.IMG_2021 We thanked our many wonderful supporters, sponsors and local jurisdictions, and we shared an especially joyful moment when Chrissy shared that an amazing $2.7 million was raised by Philadelphia’s 1,000 walkers and 300 crew members. Amidst hugs and tears, the 2015 Philadelphia 3-Day family stood united in the City of Brotherly Love, sharing our renewed promise to never give up on the way to our goal of a world without breast cancer.IMG_2121 IMG_2066 IMG_2812

Don’t forget to view a sneak peek of photos from the Philadelphia 3-Day here, and watch our Facebook page for a full album you can download and share later this week!

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 First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 1 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Sheilla, Jodie and Crystal). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and over the next few days, they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time.

Sheilla (Philadelphia 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide sheilla

I don’t have any direct family connection with breast cancer. I don’t believe it’s necessary in order to support a cause. It takes passion, dedication, and the desire to help and support others. One motto I follow is, “Let’s not talk about, let’s do something about it.” There are many worthy causes that deserve attention and support, so why breast cancer? I think for me it is about the bond of sisterhood, the ability for women to join together and have a voice, to set aside our differences and to come together for one common reason and desire…to fight for a cure!

I first became aware of the 3-Day a few years ago when I was in the city one day and noticed people walking around dressed in different shades of pink, wearing big smiles, and having so much fun. I asked a few people and learned that it was the Komen 3-Day, and I remember thinking I wanted to do it one day. But you know how it goes; life gets in the way and soon a few years have gone by. I continued to think about doing the 3-Day (I had been getting more involved with breast cancer causes and events and I always thought back to those fun-filled pink walkers I saw in Philly), but the fundraising, the sleeping arrangements (I’m not the camping type), the bathrooms (how would I shower each day?) – all of these aspects of the 3-Day made me nervous.

But then, last summer, I went through a rough break-up which affected me strongly. I was in a pretty dark place, mentally, emotionally and physically. After weeks of feeling so lost, it occurred to me that I needed to focus on something bigger than myself and what I was going through, something that was only positive. My years-long goal of doing the 3-Day became the positive thing that I held onto. It came at the perfect time, by chance. To be able to give back was just what I needed.

But I was still nervous, especially about the fundraising. I called and spoke with Joanne, the Philly 3-Day coach, and she was so positive, encouraging, and informative. She answered all the questions I had, explained the details of the event, and listened as I shared my thoughts. I told her my concerns regarding the fundraising goal and my worries of not reaching it. Joanne shared some ideas and listened to mine. I had a few ideas planned and Joanne felt they were good and would definitely help me get to my goal without a problem. She was very convincing : ) When I got off the phone with her, I felt optimistic and decided I was going to do it. I told myself there was no better time than now to sign up, give it my best, and know that no matter what I am supporting a great cause. I even inspired my sister to sign up to walk with me; together, we’re “Sisters in Pink: Big or Small Save Them All!”

I am so grateful for the experience of being part of the 3-Day community. I know it’s called the 3-Day because that’s when we gather together to walk 60 miles as one union, sharing all the fears, tears and cheers, but I think it’s really a journey because I am not focused just on October 2-4. Every single day I am mindful of the cause as I put on my sneakers to walk with my dog, lead or participate in training walks, look at the ribbons displayed around me, talk to others about my experience, etc. I think my impression now is so much more than what I originally thought. It’s going to be fun, I don’t doubt it, but it’s also going to be so much more than I imagined: life-changing, memorable, love-filled, joyous, tear-jerking, incredible.


Be sure to visit the blog again tomorrow, when we’ll hear all about First-Timer Jodie, and what led her to the 3-Day!