An Outsider’s Guide to the 3-Day: If you’re new, what can you expect?

What is the 3-Day? It’s been called everything from “The Pink Bubble” to “Pinklandia” and more. Those who have walked or crewed or even seen the 3-Day experience each have their own feelings about the 60-mile life-changing journey. Those who haven’t can only look forward to the 3 days that lie ahead of them.  If you want a sneak peak of what it’s like to be a part of our 3-Day family (and who wouldn’t?), we are giving you a look from the outside in.

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On the 3-Day, you can expect…

To be challenged

For some people, training is the toughest part. For others, it’s fundraising. No matter who you are, raising money for a good cause and training for a good long walk, all while making new friends or working with existing ones, can be a lot to put on a to-do list. However, part of joining the 3-Day family is to challenge yourself! It’s in challenging yourself that you grow, find new strengths, and create a support system you’ll have long after you walk.

One tip is to identify what most scares or challenges you about the 3-Day, and really focus in on that. Stick to a training schedule and get a work out buddy to motivate you. Give yourself small fundraising goals and reward yourself when you hit them. Make new friends on your team by the end of the weekend. Whatever helps you, go for it and grow! Don’t forget that your coaches is an excellent resource for you if you need support in any way – you can find them on their Facebook pages, separated by walk, on these Facebook Event Pages, on our website at The3Day.org/Coaches or by calling 800-996-3DAY.

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To make lots of new friends

In speaking with coaches, walkers, and crew, everyone has a story of someone they have met and connected with on the walk. Some meet on training walks, others with a random tent-mate, at the dining table or along the route. The welcoming spirit is pervasive throughout the whole 3-Day experience, so lean in and go for it! Walk up to a stranger. Compliment someone’s shoes or tutu or team T-shirts. You never know, you could be meeting your brand new bestie.

To feel a whole lot of emotion

Yes, even those who claim to “never cry” might shed a tear or two, especially during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. That’s okay! Emotion is welcomed and encouraged at the 3-Day. You will meet survivors, people currently battling breast cancer, and people who have lost loved ones. Maybe you are one of those groups of people. Maybe that’s why you walk. No matter the reason that brought you to the 3-Day, you’ll likely get hit with all the feels on the walk – and we embrace it, because the 3-Day is healing.

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To be tired and sore

Walking 60 miles is no joke. No matter how fit you are, this will take a toll on your body. That is why it’s important to properly train, continuously hydrate, and pay attention to your body during each step. Also remember that there are Sweep Vans patrolling the entire route that can take you to the next rest stop, or camp, if you have walked as far as you can. We know you can do it, and we know you know yourself and just how far you can go. You got this!

To spread the love

Once you’ve walked the walk, you’ll want to talk the talk too. Tell your friends, your family, your doctors, teachers, dog walkers, book club, financial advisor, and anyone you can! Spreading the 3-Day love will help you recruit new team members, expand your fundraising list, and put smiles on people’s faces. You can also spread the love online by interacting with our community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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To come back again

One of the greatest part of the 3-Day is seeing people year after year, and often times in multiple cities each year. Once you get hit with the 3-Day “bug,” you’ll probably want to come back for more. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself signing up for your tenth walk before you even know it! We’ll be happy to have you back, and welcome you into the 3-Day family with open arms every time.

What else would you add to our list for people new to the 3-Day to expect? Let’s hear it!

Twin Cities 3-Day Route Preview

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The Twin Cities 3-Day is coming up this weekend, and as you get ready for the event, we have a preview of what to expect! For those who are familiar with the route, you will see a lot of our favorite sights of the Twin Cities. If you’re new to the walk this year, you will love seeing all the natural beauty of Minnesota, as well as getting to know Minneapolis and St. Paul better.

Our walk this year begins at Southdale Center in Edina. It has been a local staple since 1956 and is the perfect jumping off point for sixty miles of fun. This was the original Mall of America!

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From there, much of our first day of walking will be the route we have used in years past. We will leave Edina and walk through many parks and trails in the area. Event Production Manager Eileen Barnick promises you will see “many beautiful lakes and trails! If you’re into nature you’re going to love this walk!”

Those views include a trail between Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun!

Grab & Go A will be at Father Hennepin Bluffs. You will see the name Louis Hennepin all around the area. He was a famous missionary explorer during the Lewis and Clark era, so a lot of the known history of the Twin Cities we know because of him!

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After lunch at Loring Park, walkers will cross the Stone Arch bridge, which is great for photos! This year there will also be a spot by the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center. It was under construction last year, but this year it will be another great spot for photos. We will end Day One at the University of Minnesota campus before bussing to camp.

Our camp will be at Harvest Park, and walkers will have a mile walk on a quiet trail both in and out of camp, so it’s a little secluded.

“It’s really quiet, with no car traffic, so it’s totally our own little village for the weekend! Perfect for beauty sleep!” says Eileen.

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Day Two will take place in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. We will start out on a trail and then go through some beautiful local neighborhoods before heading back into nature!

After lunch, we will hit the amazing St. Paul Utility Trail between two lakes in Vadnais Snail Regional Park.

Per Eileen, Day Two has “a good mix of streets and trails on this day, but the Vadnais Park is breathtaking!”

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Day Three is a favorite of Coach Kiki Setterlund’s, thanks to the Indian Mound Park in the heart of St. Paul. It will be about 70-80% of street walking on Sunday, but Indian Mound Park overlooks St. Paul for epic views. Walkers will then go down a hill towards the water.

“You’ll have great views as you walk through the city, and then you’ll come up to the Closing Ceremony!”

Eileen echoes that sentiment, saying that crossing Wabasha Bridge towards Closing Ceremony at Harriet Island is like a “victory march” to end the 3-Day.

The Closing Ceremony site on Harriet Island is another one of Kiki’s favorite spots.

“It is our third year there, and the beautiful backdrop of St. Paul has great views of the Mississippi River!”

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All in all, there will be plenty of scenic views over the course of all sixty miles, and the whole Twin Cities 3-Day team is hoping for some sunshine so walkers can enjoy them!

Kiki promises, “The local staff has sent in a memo to Mother Nature to request blue skies and sunny weather! It looks like we might get finally that after a few years of tough weather in the past. We are hoping that Mother Nature will work with us. We can’t wait to have you all on the route this year and in our gorgeous city!”

For more of our favorite sights from the Twin Cities 3-Day, check out our photo slideshow!

What are you looking forward to most on the Twin Cities 3-Day? Tell us in the comments! And, if you have any more questions, your Twin Cities 3-Day coaches are here to help!

Meet Your Michigan 3-Day Coaches

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Hey Michigan—are you ready? With just a little over two weeks to go, we’re preparing to give you the best 3-Day experience, which will be led by your amazing Michigan 3-Day coaches team. Get to know this rock star team who will be guiding your sixty miles of greatness!

Coach Gina Guerreso says she and her fellow coaches “are compassionate and dedicated with a little bit of spunk! Who doesn’t like a little spunk?”

We certainly do!

Especially when it comes in the form of Coach Gina, and her fellow Coaches Heather Snyder and Jennifer Hanskat.

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!

Gina says, “Both Jennifer and Heather are so relatable as coaches. They pour their heart and sprinkle love into everything they do and ensure an incredible experience for our Michigan 3-Day participants.”

This dedication to the 3-Day began at different times and locations for all the ladies.

Heather says the 3-Day was “always something I wanted to do. Then, in the February of 2015, when a friend formed a team, I jumped on board. I started training ASAP and fundraising PDQ (that’s ‘Pretty Darn Quick’). I’m so glad I did! I completed all 60 miles with no injuries and raised $4500. After that, I was hooked!”

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Jennifer and her husband

Gina and Jennifer got hooked a few years earlier, Gina in 2004 and Jennifer in 2002. Then, in 2003, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she returned to the 3-Day in 2004. She has been walking and/or crewing since, joining our 3-Day staff in 2005. They make a key part of our Michigan 3-Day family! And they truly are a family.

“The love and support our 3-Day family gives to each other all year long is nothing to be taken lightly. We are a family, and like many families, we share the same values, passion and beliefs which propel us forward in our 3-Day journey,” Gina explained.

Heather, who is the newest member of the team, echoes that sentiment, saying, “Jennifer is a “get it done” personality. She will offer to help, take on extra tasks, and make it happen. Then Gina is always comforting, compassionate, and the soft touch on the team. But clearly she is a “can do” little spirit as she leads hundreds of crew and volunteers. I’m lucky to have been accepted into this awesome circle of women!”

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches pause and pose on event with other staff members.

What else propels them? All three coaches love music (Heather especially recommends “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit for your walking playlist), a good dance party or sing along, and bright colors! All three would love to have the superpower of flight, but Jennifer would also choose the power of invisibility or being able to “be able to heal, both physical wounds and emotional wounds.”

In her new home state of Michigan, Jennifer recommends stopping by The Library and Buddy’s Pizza. However, if you need a chocolate fix, she says you have to visit Twelve Oaks Mall and the Sanders store! All the coaches have serious Michigan pride, but still have some far-off destinations on their next vacation list.

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Jennifer and her husband when they finished the Philadelphia 3-Day in 2014.

Heather has Fiji and a future birthday spent in Italy on her list, while Jennifer wants to plan an extended visit to Australia. Gina has her eye on Europe, with Italy and Spain at the top of her list!

Before they can jet off though, they are working hard to have the Michigan 3-Day all ready for their tremendous walkers and crew! Stay tuned for more memories from the coaches this week on the blog, and be sure to follow along with them on Facebook too!

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The Michigan 3-Day coaches and other 3-Day staff members are getting excited to see you soon!