Before last year’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day® series, we introduced the local coaches from each Komen 3-Day. These are the staff members who support the walkers and crew members all year round, answering phone calls and emails, hosting community events, assigning crew captains and juggling dozens of other tasks to make sure that the 3-Day® participants make it to their events excited and well prepared.
Since we gave you the coaches’ full profiles last year, we’ll delight you with just a fun update before each event this year. This week, we catch up with the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day coaches (you can read last year’s “Meet the Dallas/Fort Worth Coaches” here)!
Liz, Val, Gayla
What was your favorite memory from the 2014 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day?
Liz (Dallas/Fort Worth Participant Coach) – It was all so wonderful. I loved meeting everyone who I had talked to and encouraged throughout the year. One memory that stands out was of a young man who was walking his first 3-Day and had recently lost his wife. She had always wanted to walk the 3-Day but was not able to, so he did it for her. I saw him at the finish area. It had been very hard and emotional for him. We just hugged each other while he wept.
Gayla (Dallas/Fort Worth Local Events Coach) – My favorite memory from the 2014 Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day was gathering with participants before the Opening Ceremony. I made my mark as the “group-selfie queen” in 2014. Be ready for even more in 2015! I also loved seeing my daughter and my mom participate as part of the sweep crew, and seeing my other daughter walk as part of the Young Women Walking program.
Val (Dallas/Fort Worth Crew & Volunteer Coordinator) – Nothing can compare to the Thursday before the event, known as the All-Crew Kick-Off. The excitement of seeing everyone come together and reunite in preparation for an amazing weekend always gives me that extra boost of energy and love. Last year’s All-Crew Kick-Off was no exception. In fact, it was the most rewarding moment for me as I saw all my crew captains who I had worked with for the past six months gather with their crews and enter into the leadership roles they had prepared so hard for. The pride and joy in that day helped me soar through the rest of the weekend.
Fun facts about the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches – Can you guess which fun fact is true about which coach? (There are 3 facts about each coach; answers will be at the end of the San Diego 3-Day coaches’ check-in next month!)
I have had cats my entire life and almost all of them have had unusual names. My first cat I named BOODAY because we got her on Halloween (yes, all caps…I was three at the time). Another cat was named Snowball and one of my current cats is named Fidget.
I learned to ski in the Alps.
I’ve been a lunch lady and a crossing guard in the same year.
I am a voracious reader, many times reading up to 4 different books at a time.
I was once on the winning pig wrestling team.
From kindergarten through high school, I attended 11 different schools.
I’ve tried surfing, but I’m terrible at it.
When I was born I was extremely premature (less than 4 lbs) and I was so small could fit in my uncle’s shirt pocket.
I was in the Army and had intentions to be a Drill Sargent.
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.
The Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day has finished for another year, and we could not be more thankful for this amazing community and the memorable weekend we shared.
We gathered in the pre-dawn hours on Friday morning at Stone Mountain Park, a breathtaking backdrop as the sun rose just in time for us to begin the 3-Day journey. The incomparable Dr. Sheri was joined on stage by Chrissy Mathews from Susan G. Komen®, as well as Tara, our local events coach in Atlanta, for a moving Opening Ceremony.
Walkers set out onto the route, weaving the first few miles through the beautiful park. After a quick break at the pit stop 1, walkers exited the park and hit the streets and a cheering station in Old Historic Stone Mountain Village. From there, walkers looped through the communities west of Atlanta, making their way toward the city. They passed through the quaint downtown Decatur area, where they were greeted with another cheering station and pit stop 2. A longer break greeted the walkers at lunch, which was one big pajama party, and from there, the route passed through the eclectic neighborhood of Little Five Points. Crew teams at pit stops 3 and 4 kept walkers pumped up and fueled up in the afternoon. As they headed into the downtown Atlanta area, walkers passed by Centennial Olympic Park, built for visitors and spectators of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. Soon, they had arrived at camp at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Friday night’s camp show, hosted by Dr. Sheri and Chrissy, was emotional. We heard from the Greater Atlanta Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, who told us about the ways that the 3-Day helps fund programs in Atlanta. This was followed by moving speeches from Julie H., who talked about the realities of living with Stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer, and Karen, speaking on behalf of her friend and teammate Rachel who passed away from breast cancer about a month ago. We also recognized Atlanta’s top training walk leader and the Atlanta 3-Day Milestone Award winner.
On Day 2, walkers set out from camp and headed north for the day. Much of Day 2 was spent in the community of Buckhead, where walkers enjoyed the New Balance cheerleaders at a lovely tree-lined pit stop. Yes, there were hills a-plenty on Saturday, but the beautiful scenery and dazzling homes (including the Governor’s mansion) gave the walkers plenty to look at as they climbed. Numerous cheer stations along the way kept weary walkers motivated; a favorite was a grassy stop just before lunch with some lovable pooches who came out to support the walkers. The lunch stop was at the Greater Atlanta Komen Affiliate headquarters, complete with a pink-dyed fountain, and dozens of Komen Atlanta’s people came out to cheer the walkers in. As they headed back toward camp, walkers passed by some of downtown Atlanta’s most popular tourist spots, including the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.
The camp show on Saturday night was a flurry of awards, as we recognized Atlanta’s top fundraisers and Local Impact Award winners. We heard a touching, and at times funny speech from Gerald, a 10-time walker who shared his story of being a co-survivor to his first two wives, both of whom passed from breast cancer. The Saturday camp show was topped off with some heart-touching messages from the Atlanta Youth Corps, who were the perfect inspirations to kick off the always popular Saturday dance party.
The amount of get-up-and-go at the start of Day 3 was incredible, especially from walkers who had already covered over 40 miles of their journey. The route started out with a stroll and a pit stop on the beautiful Georgia Tech campus, and from there, walkers headed into Piedmont Park, one of Atlanta’s loveliest parks. The lunch stop was rocking once again, as walkers relaxed on the cool sunny day and crew members treated tehm to a non-stop dance-a-thon. A highlight of the afternoon was a walk past the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site before turning towards Turner Field, the site of our Atlanta 3-Day Closing Ceremony.
Walkers crossed the finish line at Turner Field, where hundreds of friends and family members waited to welcome them (and one special guy proposed to his gal as she crossed under the arch!). The unbelievable energy that Atlanta walkers and crew members showed all weekend long seemed to be turned up even more at the Closing Ceremony, where Dr. Sheri, Chrissy and Tara congratulated this amazing Atlanta family on their extraordinary journey.We thanked our marvelous supporters, sponsors and local jurisdictions who helped us along our 60-mile journey, and the whole place erupted with joy when Chrissy shared that a remarkable $2.2 million was raised by Atlanta’s 800 walkers and 275 crew members. The Atlanta 3-Day family danced it out one final time, and as the final flag of the 3-Day was raised, we remembered and repeated the promise we made way back on Friday morning: to never give up our fight until we have ended breast cancer forever.
Want to see a sneak peek of photos from the Atlanta 3-Day? Click here, and don’t forget to watch Facebook later this week for a full album you can download, tag, and share!