Meet Your San Diego 3-Day Coaches


Coach Marianne and friends

If you’ve been following along with your San Diego 3-Day coaches on social media, you already know they’re a pretty fun group (who know how to work it for Facebook Live)! But there’s so much more than a cute profile picture to Coaches Marianne Masterson, Amy Schwager and Staci Roos! Before our California 3-Dayers arrive at our final Opening Ceremony on Friday, here are some things you need to know about your coaches.


Coach Amy at right

They Are More Than Pink

Each of the coaches has a deep and long-standing connection to the 3-Day. Staci and Amy both began walking in 2002, Staci in honor of her mother-in-law, who had been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that year.

After her first walk, Amy was hooked.

“After 60 long miles and a few blisters, I can truly say it was an unforgettable journey that I will cherish forever. It was after that experience that I knew I had to be involved in this event any way I could.”


Coach Marianne at left

Marianne also has a very personal connection to the cause.

“All six of my sisters have had breast cancer, every one of them.  I lost my sister, Sheila, four years ago to this disease; two of my sisters have had reoccurrences. All of them continue to live with the fear of reoccurrence.

When my sisters’ breast cancer diagnoses began materializing, one after the other, I felt helpless against this disease.  I worried about the toll it would take on our family.  I feared the impact it would have on our children and whether our daughters would also carry this burden, as my sisters have.  So, I laced up my shoes and began walking towards a cure!”


Coach Staci

They are each other’s cheerleaders

Staci says her fellow coaches are “inspiring to a T. They work tirelessly in pursuit of an incredible experience for all of our amazing participants; walkers, crew and volunteers alike.”

Amy describes Staci as someone who “always always always finding the time to support our participants to make sure they are successful with their fundraising and training, so they ultimately end up having the opportunity to experience the magic of the 3-Day.”


Coach Amy at right

When asked about Coach Marianne, Amy says, “Marianne is always ready for whatever challenge is presented to her. She has an easy-going personality that makes you feel comfortable instantly. Her enthusiasm for the 3-Day is contagious and she has sprinkled the San Diego community with her love all season long.”

Marianne rounds out the group, speaking glowingly of her teammates.

“I knew Amy and Staci were amazing already, but now that I work so closely with them, I absolutely worship them!  Not only do they have a wealth of knowledge about the walk, they are incredibly dedicated. I love Amy with her trucker hats and sweet smile, and Staci with her easy confidence, and that she’s a dog lover!”

Talk about sharing the love!


Coach Amy

They have a sweet tooth

Coach Amy’s favorite food is “any flavor” of cupcakes!

Marianne loves ice cream almost as much as she loves spending time at the ocean with family, and her favorite flavors “will have nuts and chewy chunky goodness.”

When we asked Coach Staci for a food, she asked “Is candy corn considered food…?”

So, if you see them on the route, feel free to share a sugary snack!

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Coach Marianne and family

You want them in your book club!

Recommendations from the coaches for books to read this winter are…

  • “I Know This Much is True” and “She’s Come Undone” from author Wally Lamb are favorites of Coach Marianne
  • “Tell the Wolves I am Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt was “Just. So. Good.” according to Coach Amy, although she is a dedicated reader whenever she can find the time, so it was hard for her to pick just one option!
  • Coach Staci is a huge fan of Isabelle Allende (“The House of the Spirits” is a favorite) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She’s also been known to binge-read from Oprah’s book list.
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Coach Staci

Learn more about the coaches, and ask them for more book recommendations, on their Facebook page! Or, ask them when you see them this weekend!

Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches’ Favorite Memories


You already know coaches Gayla, Liz and Val from your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day team. They are the group who are so ready for all our walkers and crew to begin their 60-mile journey this weekend. And they will be welcoming everyone with smiling faces and pink-clad open arms!

As you get your final preparations done this week, they’re here to give you even more to be excited about. From favorite spots on the route, to their most prized memories together, to their top pump-up jams the coaches are sharing their personal 3-Day highlights.

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What are your favorite memories of the 3-Days past?

Coach Val: I’ve built some amazing relationships with my crew members over the years and seeing them each year make the entire event feel like one big wild and crazy family reunion. The year I got duct taped to a gator by our crew and youth corps (as a reward for fundraising) will always stand out as a fun year.

Coach Gayla: My favorite memories of my past 3-Day events have been on the TaTa Towing Sweep Crew with my mom (for three years) and with my daughter (for two years).

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What are your favorite memories of your fellow coaches?

Coach Gayla: I look forward to every November because Liz will always fly from Arizona to Dallas a week early to work/play with Val and I. Last year we registered and participated in the MS Muckfest together with some friends/co-workers. It was a hilarious and filthy good time!

Dallas Day 2

What are your favorite spots on the route?

Coach Liz: I love Vitruvian Park and the Cattle stampede in downtown Dallas

Coach Gayla: My favorite spots on the route are Day 1 after pit stop 1, walking by Aldridge Elementary School students first thing in the morning. They are SO excited to see us! Day 2 I like Vitruvian Park where the last public cheering station is before we enter camp. It’s beautiful and people love to gather there. Day 3 has to be either Curtis Park or Lakeside Park in Dallas.

Coach Val: Much of the route travels through the area in which I grew up. I used to spend my Friday nights as a teenager at Collin Creek Mall and I went to college at Brookhaven, so you could say the whole route is my favorite. But, I truly love Day 3. I never realized how amazing downtown Dallas could be until I did a route drive (via bicycle) with Gayla one year. Ever since then, Day 3 has been my favorite. And this year I’m so excited for our new Closing Ceremony site!


What are your favorite spots in DFW to eat, play?

Coach Liz: Well since I live in Arizona, when I come to Dallas, it is all about where to eat.  One of my favorites is a small family owned Italian place called Eddie’s Napolis in Frisco. But there is also Ida Claire’s, The Truck Yard, and Fuzzy’s Taco’s

Coach Gayla: Living in Frisco, just north of Dallas, there are so many things to do! The Dallas Cowboys Headquarters at Ford Center is a cool place to visit, Cowboys Fit to work out, restaurants at The Star, and so much more. Also, Legacy West in Plano has all kinds of new things. The Legacy Food Hall should be opening the weekend before the 3-Day, so I’m chomping at the bit!


Coach Val: In Dallas, I LOVE Jorge’s Tex Mex Café. They have some of the best tortilla soup and their location in the Arts District is a perfect spot to grab a bite before or after a show at the Winspear Opera House, the Wyly Theatre or the Moody Performance Hall. I love musical theatre and the Arts District is one of my favorite areas to spend the day. Theatre, good food, museums, an over-the-freeway park, what’s not to love?

Living in Denton (North of Dallas) is lots of fun. I enjoy spending time on the Square and eating a fantastic burger at LSA before heading over to the Oak St. Drafthouse for a tasty adult beverage.


What are your favorite pump-up songs?

Coach Val: My go-to get out of bed or get moving when exercising song is “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas. Really, anything by them counts as a great walking song! I also like anything by P!nk.

Coach Gayla: I love…

That’s What I Like and 24K Magic – Bruno Mars

Bicycle Race and Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Can’t Stop the Feeling and SexyBack – Justin Timberlake

Meet Your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day Coaches


Coaches Gayla, Val and Liz

If you’ve been following along with your Dallas Fort Worth 3-Day coaches on social media, you already know they’re one fun and loving bunch! But how much do you really know about Coaches Gayla Cruikshank, Liz Parks and Val Jones? Let’s put it to the test! Before our Texas 3-Dayers arrive at Opening Ceremony on Friday, here are some things you need to know about your coaches…

They are 3-Day veterans…

Coach Liz has been involved with the 3-Day the longest, joining our family in 2004 in honor of her aunt, who is a two-time survivor. Since then, she has crewed 11 times, walked 7 times and is already registered to walk in 2018 with her daughter for her first walk. Coach Gayla joined the next year with friends in 2005, and has been a passionate DFW 3-Dayer ever since. In 2006, Coach Val rounded out the group because she “wanted to do something that was big and bold. Something that truly made a difference. After I walked that first year I was hooked and never looked back.”


They are super close all year long…

These ladies are always in touch! They talk often to each other separately but always have a video call at least once a week to talk about things going on in their market, plus a lot of fun stuff, too. They share a love of their furry friends (Liz and Val have cats and Gayla has two dogs) and always make each other laugh. Plus, they are each other’s biggest supporters.

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Coach Liz and 3-Day pals

Coach Gayla says Coach Liz is “the biggest supporter of anyone I know.  She’s always available to walkers, Val and me, ready to answer any question that comes her way. She’s very knowledgeable and patient. She’s dedicated to health and fitness and is an inspiration to me and so many others.”

And about Coach Val, she adds, “Val has a strong connection to her crew and cares deeply for them. She’s had many years with the 3-Day and can answer almost any question you throw at her.”

How could you not love that love?


Coach Val (right)

They’re foodies…

When asked about their favorite foods, every woman has a strong and passionate answer!

Coach Val swears by chips & salsa, while Coach Gayla loves ice cream and chicken fried steak.

And Coach Liz? She couldn’t choose just one!

“It would be so much easier to ask what I don’t care for, because I can name those on one hand: cilantro (tastes like soap), okra and tripe. I like just about everything else!”

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Coach Gayla (left)

They are super women…

“If I had a superpower, I’d want to be a clone of myself, because I want to be everywhere at once with everyone I know and love. I don’t like to miss a THING!” says Coach Gayla with a grin.

But if she could, you’d find Coach Liz flying through the skies.

“I want to be able to fly! I want to travel and experience the entire world and that is the only way I would be able to do it.”

Coach Val, however, is happy just as she is, no super powers needed.

Power of flight or not, we think all these ladies are pretty dang super already!


They can’t wait for this weekend…

“Since most of my interaction is on the phone, I look forward to meeting everyone I have talked to and supported throughout the year,” says Coach Liz. “It is so wonderful to meet them face to face and give them a hug in person!”

Coach Val echoes that, saying, “This year it has felt like there have been a million little special details to take care of and to pass on to my amazing team. I am absolutely most looking forward to spending the weekend with them and watching all these little details become one truly beautiful event!”

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If you needed any more excitement from this team, Coach Gayla has it.

“I can hardly stand my excitement to see how many people will be on the route cheering on our walkers. Komen partners, local businesses, mom and daughter charity groups, just to name a few. This is going to be a fantastic year!”

Do you want to know anything else about your Dallas/Fort Worth coaches? Put your questions in the comments, or ask them on Facebook!