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’ve done one of these location-specific route peeks for every 2015 3-Day event. (Curious about the other 3-Day events’ routes? Click away for the Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth routes.) Today, last but not least, it’s the San Diego 3-Day’s moment in the spotlight. Let’s see what Event Planning Manager Emily and Local Events Coach Kim had to say about this year’s San Diego route!
Do you know of any major changes to San Diego’s route from last year? – Kim shared that there are some minor changes to the route but, “It should pretty much be the same as it has been in the past. And in the past it has been AWESOME!” Emily added, “There will be a new pit stop on Day 1, after the Torrey Pines hill. It’ll be in the same area, but a slightly different location. It likely won’t change the route at all. The biggest changes come on Day 3. We’ve been looking at changing up the Participant Finish Area (formerly known as “Holding”), so this year it will be at Embarcadero Park South, right on the water. Some of you may recognize it as a former site of the Closing Ceremony from many years ago. The end of Day 3 will have an adjustment to the route through downtown, taking walkers closer to the waterfront, with the Closing Ceremony still taking place outside of Petco Park.”
What, if any, geographical challenges does San Diego’s route present (i.e., are there hills? Poor sidewalks? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?)? – The San Diego 3-Day event does have some notorious hills, but nothing our tenacious walkers can’t handle. Emily summed it up: “There’s a big hill on each day, and general hilliness on all three days.” Kim added some detail about the big three hills: “There’s the Torrey Pines hill on the first day, which is a gorgeous walk up a large hill. Day 2 has one short but tough uphill on Narraganset Street. On Day 3, there’s a long portion along the canal, which, thankfully is flat, but can be hot if the sun is bright that day, and then we end up in Old Town for the Juan Street hill, which is a tough one. So YES, train on hills!” With some unique sections of route, Kim and Emily have a few added notes: “Torrey Pines is a protected nature reserve, so there are certain restrictions: no boas, ribbons, balloons or music are allowed in that area, so there will be a drop point for those prohibited items prior to heading up the hill (walkers can pick their items up back in camp). Extra sweep support will be at the bottom and top; no vehicles are allowed in the reserve, but our route safety crew members and the San Diego PD will be on bikes keeping an eye on everyone. There’s almost always a stop right before those big hills or before big stretches of no sweep access.” And while you might be quick to assume that the weather in San Diego will be perfect (and it usually is pretty darn close), Emily reminds walkers, “Walking in November could be overcast and drizzly along the coast, and it does get cold and damp at night, because we will be camping right on the water. But to walk by the coast for the majority of the route and feel that clear, crisp ocean air is a really a unique thing about the event.”
Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? – Like we’ve seen on every other route peek, the local coaches are always very eager to brag about what their events have to offer. Kim shared, “Every day is amazing in San Diego. Some of my favorite highlights are walking through Del Mar Village with their HUGE several-blocks-long cheering station. Walking along the coast heading up to Torrey Pines is so picturesque, as is La Jolla Cove (don’t forget to look for the sea lions!). And that is just Day 1! On Day 2, I would have to say that Sunset Cliffs is by far my favorite part, and on Day 3, the highlight is walking through Old Town and all the amazing support going up Juan Street hill.” Emily confirmed and added why she loves the San Diego 3-Day route: “The Del Mar community cheering station is amazing. They decorate everything pink and hundreds of people come out to support. The uniqueness of each beach community is so much fun. There’s time on the boardwalk, so you get a real taste of the surfer beach culture. Sunset Cliffs is spectacular. You go through Mission Park and get a great stroll along the waterfront and through Seaport Village. The neighborhoods are all so unique in their own way!”
Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the San Diego route? From Kim: “There are hills and you should train for them, but most of the walk is relatively flat. Be ready to take lots of pictures of our gorgeous coastline and fun towns. San Diego is known for the community support and 2015 will not disappoint!” Emily added, “Overall, the route and the event experience itself encompasses such a great variety of everything San Diego stands for and has to offer. From North County, down to the beach communities and the Bay, to downtown…it just really captures the essence of what San Diego is all about. The ocean, the history, all the key spots you would want to visit anyway while you’re there. You just hit all the cool spots, you couldn’t really do much better.”
The Bottom Line – San Diego, being the final 3-Day event of the year, is always a big celebration with a great, fun vibe from start to finish. The hills can certainly be challenging, but if you’ve worked hills into your training, you’ll be fine. And while it’s unlikely that we’ll experience bad weather in beautiful Southern California, we did have the infamous storm of 2010, so anything can happen. As always, keep an eye on the weather in the days prior to the event, and prepare accordingly.
The Insider’s Take – San Diego was one of the first 3-Day events I walked, and is the one I have participated in more than any other (walked there four times, crewed there twice). There’s a good reason why the amazing California coastal locale draws more walkers every year than any other 3-Day: it’s breathtakingly beautiful, and the community support is second to none. San Diego is one of the most fun and lively 3-Day cities there is.
One Final Friendly Reminder – Don’t forget to keep that lively, celebratory San Diego attitude alcohol-free. Consuming alcohol during a long-distance walk can be dangerous, and alcohol is prohibited at all 3-Day sites, including pit stops and camp. If you do leave the route while you’re walking, for any reason, make sure you don’t get left behind. If you see the “caboose” (that’s a 3-Day staff member on a bike), that’s the end of the line of walkers, and once she has passed, we can’t guarantee that walkers behind her will be supported. Keep your hydration choices to water and sports drinks.