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!”

2010 Gayla & Mom tata towing

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!

Meet Your Atlanta 3-Day Coaches


The 3-Day is heading south to Atlanta this weekend, and we are ready for another sunny 60 miles with all our amazing 3-Day walkers and crew. Part of your Georgia welcoming committee will be your amazing Atlanta 3-Day Coaches: Karen Odell, Susan Wynne and Libby Riordan. These ladies have been preparing all year long to host another fantastic weekend for our 3-Dayers, so before you put on your tutus and lace up your walking shoes, we wanted to help you get to know them better.

The first thing you need to know about Libby, for example, is that she is “is rock solid, she knows her stuff and conveys a sense of confidence while being completely approachable and helpful.” That’s according to Coach Karen!


Coach Libby (right)

If you ask Libby about herself, she will also let you know that she would choose Mexican food all day long, and that she listens to FloRida when she needs extra motivation on her training walks and other work outs. She has been involved with the 3-Day since 2005, when she applied for a job on our team one month after walking her first 3-Day.

“It’s been a long journey with a community that I am lucky to call family!”


Coach Susan

Coach Susan joined the 3-Day family not long after Libby, walking her first 3-Day in 2007 in honor of one of her closest friends, whom she had lost to breast cancer. She still walks in other 3-Day cities to this day!

When she’s not 3-Daying, she is craving Mexican food and sushi, and listening to The Lumineers and The Avett Brothers. They might not seem like the traditional “pump up jams” to some, but she says they’re still her favorite to train to.

Coach Karen says Susan “makes our participants feel as if they’ve known her forever and she is a great resource for any question.”

Susan echoes that same love when talking about Coach Karen, saying, “Karen is so thoughtful and dedicated to making our participants have the best experience possible.”


Coach Karen (center)

Karen says that is she could have one superpower it would be to have “the ability to always know the right path in life,” and if you want to make her dinner, make sure to bring the seafood! She loves halibut, scallops, lobster, mussels and more!

Through and through, these ladies are a fun and enthusiastic group who are anxiously waiting to welcome everyone to Atlanta next week!


Coach Karen (left)

Karen describes their coaching team as “supportive, cohesive, and thoughtful,” and Susan says they all work their hardest to “connect with our participants and crew on such a personal level and truly care about our 3-Day family.”

Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend with these women?!