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!

A 3-Day Family Affair: Mother’s Day with Heather Morse

Some moms will spend this Mother’s Day weekend at brunch or the spa, on a vacation with their families, or even by simply taking the day to sleep in and relax. For others, including mother and 3-Dayer Heather Morse, this Sunday will mean a town-wide canning event to raise money for her long-time 3-Day team “Cup Crusaders.” Luckily, Heather wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Joined by her family, including three sons aged 16 to 29, Heather will once again be supporting the 3-Day this year, and that includes on Mother’s Day.

Being a mom has shaped much of Heather’s experience with the 3-Day family, including speaking at 3-Day camp in San Diego last year.

“My sons didn’t know I was doing it until that night, but I thought it was important for them to see. I wanted them to see what I was capable of. I wanted them to see the inspiration, and the hope and why it was so important to me.”

That was evident in her speech, where she broke out her 3-Day journey into steps. She walks her initial 8,000 steps for her boys, because they come first in her life. The following steps are for all the other children’s parents who have the disease and everyone with loved ones who are fighting.

“I wanted it to be more impactful and inspirational, but put a little humor in it. I even talked about lunch where you laugh and cry and talk with people. You can feel alone when you have this diagnosis, but ever since I’ve done the 3-Day I’ve had an outlet and a support group to not feel so alone.”

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Her first breast cancer diagnosis came before her involvement with the 3-Day, but once she was re-diagnosed, Heather realized it was something she had to do. She started off by crewing, and then joined a team to walk those 60 miles. After the first few years, her youngest son joined the Youth Corps to support her and last year, all three of her sons walked side-by-side with her as she continues to fight Stage IV breast cancer.

That diagnosis was the original reason she became a part of the 3-Day, because she wanted to meet others also battling Stage IV. She was looking for a “little hope” from a new support system, and the one she found has also become a support group for her boys.

“It has made me feel so proud, and I was so happy that they were getting an outlet as well. It makes me happy for them to see so many cancer survivors, because it gives them hope.”

20170509_122911Hope and passion are something Heather and her family have in spades, as is evidenced by their increasing involvement in the cause. This involvement begins, and continues, with fundraising.

Though her family was involved with her fundraising efforts “since day one,” that fundraising has grown and evolved over the years. In addition to her annual Mother’s Day canning event, Heather and her team also fundraise on their personal social media channels, at local restaurants, and with a motorcycle barbecue.

“We do a motorcycle ride every year where people pay to be part of a guided motorcycle ride, and then there is also a whole BBQ with live music and vendors. We’ve done it for a few years so almost everything is donated, and we raised around $3,500 last year. Then we had a few local companies do a $1,000 match as well, so we end up making even more for our team!”

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The key, she says, is to look professional, and take your fundraising as seriously as possible.

“You need to have posters and signs and dress in pink and present yourself well. Really try to look as legitimate as possible!”

It is the fundraising aspect that makes the 3-Day truly unique in Heather’s eyes.

“It’s amazing the people that you meet and how they touch your lives,” she says. “This raises so much wonderful money, and so much awareness for Stage IV. When you do the fundraising, you meet a lot of people. You touch a lot of people, and they touch you. You learn their stories! And then on the 3-Day you become a family.”

Morse is, of course, lucky to always have her own family on event with her. This is what she is looking forward to most for 2017; seeing her sons walk and captain the Youth Corps again. She can’t wait to watch them succeed along with her friends and breast cancer survivors.

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These wins, and positive successes, are part of what keeps her going year after year.

“The biggest thing in the world, and one of the ways you survive, is keeping your psychological part of your body healthy.  If you keep your mind healthy, that helps keep your body healthy. Being positive and keeping busy and active, I think plays a direct role in your physical health.”

That’s why you’ll see Heather out and moving with her family this weekend, and this coming 3-Day.