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.
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.”
- 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!”
- 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!”
- 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.”
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.
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.