Creating the 3-Day Route: What goes into planning those 60 miles?

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Planning a 60-mile journey is no small feat, especially for hundreds of people in different cities across the country. That is the magic of the 3-Day! For three days, we take over major metropolitan cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, and more, to walk 60 miles towards a cure for breast cancer. One of the many benefits of spending 60 miles on your feet is in how the 3-Day route is a showcase of the amazing host cities we call home for a few days each year.

Planning that route goes on all year long, and involves many people, working to get our 3-Day routes ready. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes!

This applies to all our 3-Day cities, but we asked the Seattle Coaches, Gayla and Liz, our amazing crew & Volunteer Coordinator Libby, as well as our Event Planning Manager, Ann, to give us an in-depth look at how they work to make every step of the 60-mile journey challenging but fun, all while showing off the best of our host cities.

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Planning the Route

Every city is different, and that’s why the elements of the 3-Day route look and feel different in each of our host cities. We base our route on the natural scenery, beauty, and attractions of the host city, but we also must be ready for the route to change based on factors like construction and local events. Can you imagine if we didn’t walk through Gas Works Park in Seattle or stroll past the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia?

What about those parts of the route that aren’t exactly scenic, but unavoidable, like hills? We work very hard to eliminate and minimize hills along our route. This is especially true in hilly cities like Seattle, which is nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Cascade mountains, surrounded by water, islands and bridges. These features provide for unique challenges in the planning process while attempting to achieve the flattest possible path. The beautiful terrain doesn’t provide many flat options in and around Seattle, however, in cases where we cannot go entirely flat, we work with the terrain to the best of our ability. Whenever we are designing the route in any city, we look at different options to get from one place to another, and try to always choose the least hilly or steep path.

However, when a hill is unavoidable because we need to get out of a valley or our route options are limited by construction, sidewalk availability, or city requirements, we look at ways to break the hill up as much as possible. This can include employing a “switch back” technique that breaks the hill up into several smaller, less steep hills whenever possible. Essentially, we try to stair-step our way up the hills.

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No matter what 3-Day city you are walking, proper training is always essential. As we work to plan the best route possible, you should do prep work as well. Try to find a route with some hills and stairs to help prepare for the possibility that they will occur during any event.

Also, check the website for training walks that are being hosted in your area. They are a great way to get ready for the event while meeting and talking to other walkers!
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Involving the Community

Our local teams are already working hard to get businesses along the route to cheer our walkers on, so everyone will feel the constant support from the community. If you have any recommendations or connections along the route, send contact information to your local Coaches. And if you have friends, neighbors and longtime donors who are local, talk with them about setting up a cheering station. The work with communities is continual throughout the year and we have dedicated volunteers (some of them walkers and crew members) who work on community involvement year-round, but while we do our best to line the route with all the support we can, we cannot do it alone!

You can also help by sharing these documents with local businesses, neighborhood associations, clubs, teams, church groups, etc., and by contacting your local coaches at 800-996-3DAY, (Hey, Seattle! Liz and Gayla are at Option 7) or on their coaches Facebook pages to volunteer to help so we can get an early start on lining the route with support.

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Leading the Way

Our Route Team works tirelessly to make sure the route is as clearly marked as possible. We never want a 3-Dayer to feel lost! However, because we mark the route the day before, the signage is vulnerable to changes. That’s why we are always on alert during each 3-Day weekend, and why we also make changes every year based on walker experiences.

For example, last year, Seattle signs were removed and altered by the public in many places, especially along trail sections, which caused confusion and frustration for walkers — and hey, we get it! That’s a huge bummer, especially when it means being on your feet for any longer than you have to be.

To address this problem, this year we will rely on staff members to confirm placement of all signage in the early hours before we open the route for walkers. We will also utilize Route Safety crew members to check each section of the route before the walkers pass through and increase our Route Safety presence and signage along foot paths and areas of high traffic.

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If you have feedback on any part of your 3-Day route, community involvement, or anything about your experiences, please make sure to include those in your post-event surveys! We work hard to make sure every aspect of your 3-Day experience is the best it can be, all year long.

We are putting in that work now, and always, because we know how important your 60 miles are. Every step you take is important to us because every step is another one towards a world without breast cancer. Thank YOU, participants for walking with us, for giving your time and energy, and for being the best part of the 3-Day experience.

 

2017 San Diego 3-Day Route Preview

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Our final 3-Day of the year is next weekend, and we are so excited to be heading back to the West Coast for the 2017 San Diego 3-Day. As the date fast approaches, we are giving a sneak peek at our amazing 60-mile route, which will have walkers immersing themselves in the many beautiful sights and locations of San Diego.

Event Manager, Merideth Parker walked her first 3-Day in San Diego (she’s now a three-time walker!) and so is very happy to welcome all our participants next weekend.

It will all begin at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, which was just home to the Breeder’s Cup race, and is a source of great local pride and excitement.

Merideth enthuses, “It’s also the home of the Del Mar Fair every summer! It’s just a great, festive location that’s home to a lot of iconic events for the city. It’s a big, open space that’s perfect for us!”

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After the Opening Ceremony, walkers will make their way along the coastline and through Torrey Pines State Beach. Also, keep an eye out for a fun cheering station at En Fuego Cantina Restaurant!

Other highlights involve some local sea life! The seals and the tide pools at La Jolla cove are always a high point on the day.

Merideth also says to look out for the Bird Rock section of Pacific Beach.

“I used to live there, and it has had a resurgence and become its own little village in recent years. It’s very cool and hip!”

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Then we will arrive at our camp site at Crown Point Shores, which has been such a wonderful location for the last few years.

Merideth says, “It’s along the shoreline of Siesta Bay so you’ll get beautiful views of the bay, and the little islands there! We’re so grateful to be coming back! The residents of Crown Point have been so welcoming us for more than a decade, and we can’t wait to bring our sea of pink back to the park.”

It’s the perfect nice, quiet spot nestled in the nature of the park that will be a great camping grounds for a great night’s sleep.

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Day Two will take walkers through Ocean and Mission Beach, which holds one of Merideth’s favorite spots on the whole route!

“Get ready for Sunset Cliff as you go through Ocean Beach. There’s a turn onto Ladera Street, where you go down a hill, and the views are just spectacular. It’s a great coastline view!”

There will also be lots of local cheering stations to keep spirits high and smiles on everyone’s faces!

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Day Three will kick off with more cheering stations and an amazing photo opportunity at Mormon Battalion. Walkers will then make their way through Old Town, which Merideth says is always a favorite.

“I also love Mission Hills, and walkers will have to be a little quieter here, but it’s known for its craftsman-style bungalows that are just gorgeous. I have a favorite house on every street!”

Your Instagram feed will thank you there, and as our walk ends in Little Italy!

“There’s also a section just before the Closing Ceremony in Little Italy, that rivals many other Italian neighborhoods I have seen,” says Merideth. “You don’t have to get on a plane to enjoy delicious food from Italy! It’s all right there in San Diego!”

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There will be a small change in Day Three’s route that will also make our day a little shorter. Walkers will rejoice over the shorter mileage on the day, as we have made an update near the San Diego River Pathway. Walkers will now stay on Morena Boulevard to keep them safe and make their feet happy.

The day ends at our Closing Ceremony, which for the second year will be at Waterfront Park.

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Merideth explains, “It’s right on the harbor, across the street from Embarcadero, which is a waterfront area that hosts the Maritime Museum and the Star of India full-rigged sailing ship. The spot will make for excellent photos!

The park is relatively new to the San Diego landscape, and is close to Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter, which are perfect places to celebrate with friends and family after your 60-mile journey!”

We are so excited to celebrate with San Diego all weekend long, and end our 2017 3-Day season making bold strides together towards a cure for breast cancer.

2017 Susan G. Komen Dallas/Fort Worth Route Preview

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Our Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day is just a week away and boy is the Lone Star State ready for our 3-Dayers! As you all pack, make last minute preparations, and take your final training walks, we have a preview of the route to get you even more excited for your upcoming 60-mile journey.

The 3-Day begins at the Colin Creek Mall in Plano, TX and walks much of the same route as in past years.

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Be sure to look out for a very special group of cheerleaders after pit stop 1 on Friday.

Coach Gayla promises that we will be walking by Aldridge Elementary School students first thing in the morning. “The students are SO excited to see us!” That, combined with the cheering station at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, will keep you going strong on to lunch.

In the afternoon, Cottonwood and Anderson Bonner Parks will provide nice shade, and lots of beautiful photo ops. Then the day will end at our camp at Brookhaven College, which has been our camp spot for the last few years.

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Coach Gayla says, “We love this location! It’s such a great outdoor space, so we are talking to Mother Nature about giving us good weather to sleep under the stars.”

After a nice rest, our walkers will take on Day 2, which has some new sights this year. After pit stop 1, we will be going back over the Big Blue Bridge in Addison. We took this route a few years ago, and have it back on our route this year because it provides a great photo opportunity!

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After lunch, we will be walking through Dallas and Addison, throughout Addison Circle and Vitruvian Parks. There will be a special public cheering station in Vitruvian Park, right before we enter camp, and Coach Gayla says this is her favorite part of the day.

The day doesn’t end once you enter camp though! Remember to stay for our fun camp dance party from 5:30 – 8:30 pm! Friends and family are welcome!

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The Jordan Kahn Music Company is bringing the Manhattan Party Band to our camp! Manhattan features the best musicians and performers from all over Texas, and they will be jamming to dance hits from a variety genres and decades…from Motown to the hits of today! It will be a not-to-miss night!

Then we will kick off Day Three, which has some new sights and spots along the route. It is also a little bit of a shorter Sunday walk this year, which our walkers will appreciate!

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In downtown Dallas, we will visit Main Street, with some local businesses who are very excited to be cheering on the walkers as they pass.

“We will also pass a bunch of parks on Main Street, so there will be a new look and lots of fun cheering stations along that part of Day Three!” Coach Gayla enthuses.

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The Closing Ceremony is also in a new spot on The Lawn at Reunion Tower, which will be lit up pink just for us! Participants and supporters can go up to the top of the tower either before or after the ceremony for a great city view.

“It’s the iconic, downtown Dallas area,” says Coach Gayla. “The participant finish area is a big, beautiful park area that’s also very comfortable for our walkers!”

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All in all, it will be a great big, pink bubble of fun in Dallas/Fort Worth! Get ready for another amazing 60 miles!