The second Susan G. Komen 3-Day® of the year has wrapped up in the Twin Cities, and it was an incredible and memorable weekend for everyone involved.
We kicked off the event on Friday morning at Southdale Center in Edina, under sunny skies (wonderful while they lasted!). Participants were witness to an inspiring Opening Ceremony, hosted by the wonderful Dr. Sheri, as well as Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen® and Twin Cities local events coach, Stephanie. The 2015 Ceremonies have some exciting changes, so even the veterans who’ve seen more than a few were treated to some lovely new features.
At the end of the Opening Ceremony, the walkers headed out through Edina to the Mardi Bra themed pit stop 1 at Utley Park. In addition to the usual snacks, drinks and potties, there were also beads, music and a fun photo backdrop where many walkers stopped to snap pics. Cheering stations in Minneapolis were set up before and after pit stop 2 (located on the shore of Lake Calhoun), where many walkers were cheered through by the always energetic Youth Corps. One of the most photographed spots on the Day 1 route was the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, where nearly every walker stopped to snap some shots in front of the huge spoon and cherry. Just over a short foot bridge overpass, the lunch stop at Loring Park greeted walkers to “Boob-on Street,” another amazing Mardi Bra theme. After lunch, it was onward through a quick stop at the Grab & Go, then the third (wow!) cheering station of the day. The crew team at pit stop 3 was out to tackle breast cancer (someone is ready for football season…) and pit stop 4’s crew were temporary police officers, out to “bust” breast cancer (Get it? Aren’t our crew teams clever?). Nearly 19 miles after leaving the Opening Ceremony, walkers were welcomed home to a spacious and scenic camp at Harvest Park in Maplewood, and at the Friday night camp show, heard from Dr. Sheri and Chrissy again, as well as a moving young survivor who spoke about the power of never giving up the fight. Top Fundraisers and our Milestone Award winner were honored, and then it was off to bed to rest up for the day ahead!
And what a day Day 2 was! Although forecasts for nasty evening weather were on everyone’s minds (and smartphones) even in the morning, the sun stuck around as long as it could, well into the afternoon. The communities of Little Canada, Shoreview, Maplewood and more came out in full force to support the walkers passing through, and that encouragement included at least three (might have been more that I just didn’t see) fire stations who set up their officers, trucks and ladders, and even a refreshing water spray at one. The route took walkers through lovely wooded trails and parks, and since Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, of course, the route spent a lot of time on the shores of these beautiful bodies of water. Three public cheering stations, plus dozens of private cheer groups and walkers stalkers meant that the Twin Cities walkers were never far from another friendly face, encouraging them to keep trucking through Day 2’s 22.6 miles.
And then…night 2.
This recap would be incomplete without recognizing the great attitudes and “roll with it” flexibility that our walkers and crew members showed when the decision was made to relocate the sleeping area of camp to an indoor facility. With thunderstorms brewing and even a tornado watch called in the late afternoon, it became clear that taking our tired participants inside was the safest and best option. It was very sad that we had to pull the plug on the Saturday camp show, Friends & Family Night activities and dance party, but the Twin Cities 3-Dayers made the best of the situation, loading up on buses and moving their sleeping quarters into a nearby high school gym, where the evening was filled with friendly conversations, reminiscing about the day, and a yummy pizza dinner delivered to the site (Sorry we couldn’t get pans of mac n’ cheese to you! Guess you’ll just have to come back next year…).Some of the gloom from Saturday night’s storms carried over into the Sunday morning start of Day 3, but even a bit of wind and rain couldn’t stop our walkers from finishing their last 18 miles with enthusiasm and determination. The route was packed with even more lakeside pathways and friendly neighborhoods as walkers moved into St. Paul. Nature was on full display along Beaver Lake and through the gorgeous Battle Creek Trail, and walkers eventually made their way along Indian Mounds Park to enjoy stunning views of the downtown St. Paul skyline before crossing the river and covering the final few miles to the beautiful Participant Finish Area on Raspberry Island. Walkers and crew members took an emotional procession to the Closing Ceremony arena, where, even though some stage elements had to be taken down because of the high winds, the scene was beautiful and the energy was tangible. Dr. Sheri, Chrissy and Stephanie, our hosts from the Opening Ceremony and camp shows, were once again there to thank our 550 walkers, 200 crew members, countless supporters, and event sponsors, and to celebrate the incredible accomplishment that the Twin Cities 3-Day achieved: raising $1.6 million to fight breast cancer.
We at the 3-Day can’t say thank you enough to every single person who makes this event what it is. We truly could not do it without each of your spirit, energy and passion. We look forward to seeing many of you down the road this year, welcoming many MORE back in the Twin Cities next year and carrying each of you in our hearts every day. Onward to Seattle!