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

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!


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.


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


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


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


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.

Congratulations to the Seattle 3-Day’s Milestone Award Winner, Tina M.!

Join us in congratulating the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day Milestone Award winner, Tina McDonough, who was recognized in camp on Saturday of the Seattle event. Tina first walked the 3-Day in 2007 in Seattle, and has walked a total of 11 times (8 in Seattle and 3 in San Diego). She’ll make it an even dozen when she walks in San Diego this November. Tina is the captain of Valley Girls & Guys, Seattle’s largest team (which also has a San Diego team). Between their Seattle and San Diego teams, Valley Girls & Guys has raised over $1.8 million for Susan G. Komen® since 2007.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

While Tina’s legendary status with the 3-Day has been firmly established, her start with the event was humble and strikingly similar to many: she was recruited by friends to walk in memory of a friend’s sister. That first year, Tina also dedicated her walk to her friend Michelle, who was battling a cancer recurrence at the time. Tina recalls, “We walked that year and I swore I would be back volunteering my time not walking (as we did not train and I hurt super bad). But then that December, Michelle passed away at 38. Watching her husband and daughter fall apart at her funeral I thought to myself, I can’t not do anything. So I formed a team. That foursome team has turned into a 180 walkers between Seattle and San Diego and quickly became my life passion. I am doing exactly what I was meant to do and we will never give up until we find a cure!”

Tina shared that the Valley Girls & Guys team had 15 survivors within its ranks last year alone, and those brave teammates are a big part of what brings Tina back to the 3-Day year after year. “I feel like if I give up or quit doing the 3-Day I would be giving up on them, and I will never give up on any survivor/friend! This is my second family and I love every single one of them with all my heart!”

With nearly $2 million raised by Valley Girls & Guys in less than a decade, we had to ask Tina about the secret to her team’s 3-Day fundraising success. “Our team secret is we are family! We would do anything for each other and we do our fundraising together as a team. We have a huge March fun night out (coming up on our 8th year this coming March) where we typically raise over $150,000, and any teammates who participate, attend, etc. receive monies towards their fundraising. Just that one event gets many of our team members halfway to their fundraising goal.” Tina knows that that boost of help and the ongoing support from the team family is usually enough to get everyone motivated to succeed.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

Apart from participating in the 3-Day, Tina and her team show remarkable support for the breast cancer community in other ways too. Since February of 2013, Valley Girls & Guys have made and sent 284 personalized blankets, which they call blankets of “comfort and hope,” to cancer patients and survivors all over the U.S., and as far as Germany and Australia (each blanket is created with a photo of the team, and inspirational quote and the recipient’s name). Tina also shared an exciting new endeavor that the team is about to begin: “The other thing our team is starting is The Who House – Harnessing the Power of Community to Support Cancer Patients and Their Families. I have an office in [the Seattle area] that we are going to open up after hours Monday-Friday for those going through cancer, co-survivors, youth and those who have lost loved ones, as a place they can come talk, get support and have resources to reach out to. We have huge plans for this and are excited to get it started and off the ground.” Tina is a realtor by profession, and not surprisingly, she received the 2013 REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes realtors who have made an extraordinary impact on their community, or on the national or world stage, through volunteer work.

What is Tina’s best advice for someone thinking about doing the 3-Day? “Just do it and join a team if you can! ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ (TEAM) and in this case it means not only fundraising money, but you get so much more than what you will ever put in which is amazing. You end up with an experience of a lifetime, lifelong friends, and you are part of something bigger than you and making a huge impact/difference in the world!”susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog seattle milestone award tina valley girls and guys

We extend our warm congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Tina and her Valley Girls & Guys teammates for their exceptional dedication to a world without breast cancer.