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.
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!
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.”
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.
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. The 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.”
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.”
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!