3-Day Besties, Tracie and Kristen

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We say it often, but the 3-Day truly is better with friends. It’s a journey that we all take together, but having your bestie by your side for the 60 miles makes the journey even more fun. Sunday is International Day of Friendship, so it’s the perfect time to ask a friend to walk with you this year! If you need more reasons to convince your best friend to walk with you, we have two: Tracie Audifferen and Kristin Naour Duvall.

These two ladies have been walking the San Diego 3-Day for five years, and, after meeting on a training walk, they’re now also best friends!

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Tracie began walking years ago, after a sorority sister was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.

“I had always seen the commercials, but this was someone who made it real for me,” she says.

In her second-year walking, she joined the Powered by Optimism team, where she met Kristin.

Previously, Kristen’s connection to the 3-Day came from supporting her mom, aunts and cousins who all participated. She began walking in 2012, initially planning to only walk for one day. She joined Powered by Optimism and changed her mind one hour into her first training walk.

“It was the most fun day and most fun walk ever! I knew I couldn’t miss out on this, and immediately changed my status from walking one day to all 3 days!”

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From there, both she and Tracie were hooked members of the Powered by Optimism team. So much so that they were both, separately, driving 25 miles each way to the team’s training walks. Until they met each other…

“We were commiserating about the drive to the walks, and both were looking for someone to carpool with! And all this time we were driving the same streets!” Tracie explains.

“We really got to know each other through driving to our training walks!” Kristin echoes. “It was early mornings, and we were all exhausted on the way there, and then on the rides back we would pop a couple Pepsis and be goofy and fun!”

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From there, the friendship grew. Tracie credits her friendship with Kristin for bringing her out from the sadness of losing her sorority sister.

“Kristin is just a light, and I am like a moth to that light. She was instantly engaging and joyful and spirited. It took me out of the sadness of why I was walking to be with this person who is just joyful!”

Tracie continued, “I was blessed to find a brand new friend in the midst in that sadness! Over the past almost 5 years, our friendship has just grown. Komen was always the hub, but outside of that, our friendship grew. Everything else were just spokes to that hub.”

That hub is reinforced every year that they walk the 3-Day together.

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“You have over 2,000 people in San Diego, but if you’re walking with a friend, you can allay any fears and concerns you might have about this journey. And on the other hand, you get to experience everything with someone else who knows you!” Tracie says.

“You’re also celebrating! You celebrate in the evening in your pajamas and in the mess hall tent and when it’s 6 am and you’re crawling out of this pink tent but you’re already laughing. You celebrate dealing with blisters and meeting new people, and getting stickers and treats and fun from people along the route. Those memories are so clear, and you get to experience them with friends!

It also makes the fundraising easier, and those days when you don’t want to train easier. Your friends get why you’re involved, and they understand what you need to keep pushing yourself to be better.”

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It also gives their personal friendship new depth, per Kristin.

“Our friendships because of 3-Day are deeper. We share so much on walks that has transferred into our personal friendship off the walk. Those deep connections that you make on the walk, it makes those friendships so much stronger because you have shared the deepest parts of your soul. You share things that you wouldn’t normally share when you’re out walking and you’re tired and vulnerable.”

Both women are looking forward to continuing to share these emotions with each other, and their team mates, on this year’s 3-Day. One team mate will be especially important for Kristin: her new husband!

“This year is really special for me. My mom’s first year, I had just started dating someone, so his first experience with it was my first experience of the 3-Day. Two years ago, right before the 3-Day we got engaged, and last year we got married! He’s been a pseudo member of our 3-Day team for years, and this year he’s walking with us! This is the coolest thing ever! Our team has been on this journey with us.”

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Of course her husband is a special case, but Kristin says this feeling of inclusivity is at the heart of her 3-Day experience.

“That’s my favorite part of the 3-Day: Sharing it with new people. Seeing them see it for the first time is just amazing.”

Tracie agrees, and invites every San Diego 3-Dayer to join their bestie crew this year!

“My goal for our team is, I want us to be the most joyful and magnetic team! I want people who are walking alone or just walking with one friend, I want them to join us. I don’t want to be a team that’s exclusive of itself.

I want our team to be what Kirstin has been to me. To be that light that others are attracted to.”

Kristin and Tracie are both sources of friendship and light for each other, and all they meet on the 3-Day. We can’t wait to see them out on the trail again this year!

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Not to Miss 3-Day Cheering Stations

The 3-Day is sixty miles of fun, excitement, and friendship, all of which make a big difference in the fight against breast cancer. Part of that excitement though, doesn’t just come from our walkers. In addition to the camaraderie of teams and walkers and crew members all coming together, there are also cheering stations along the route to give an extra boost of energy.

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We asked our social media community, coaches, and the rest of our 3-Day team which cheering stations have given you an extra special boost! You all had your favorites from 3-Days past, and we highlighted some of them below:

Michigan 3-Day

Rebecca Fox on Facebook: The line of what seems like 100s of cheerleaders in Livonia on Day 3 in Michigan. Also, Plymouth on Day 2.

@amybray1 on Twitter: The Michigan 3-Day. Best cheering station is the hundreds of cheerleaders on Sunday morning. I get all choked up, every single time!!

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San Diego 3-Day

Marianne Masterson, San Diego Coach: In San Diego, my favorite is ‘Lilly the Golden’ the kissing dog!  She hangs out in her RV and walkers can approach the window and sweet Lilly will give them a little dog kiss. Lilly’s RV is called The Mothership and she is associated with the team Save Areola 51. The team has a large following and the RV can be found each day on route. The group started giving out stickers a couple of years ago because Lilly has become famous! Last year she had some special doggie friends helping her out as well.  It’s got to be tiring to have to give so many kisses, so I guess they had to call in some support!

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Michelle Anne Crago Buessing from Facebook: Team Michelle Lemonade stands in San Diego with the CUTEST kids!!

Alyssa, 3-Day Social Media  Manager: The “pickle people” have been providing pickles to walkers for about six years, now.

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“Pickles have potassium, they help leg cramps, and it helps prevent more cramps.

“We come out all three days and hand out pickles – they love ‘em!” said Bill, one of the head picklers. He got involved when his granddaughter started walking. He now passes out pickles every year along with his wife Kathleen, sons, daughters, and grandkids. They set up at the top of San Diego’s infamous San Juan Street Hill on Day 3.

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Philadelphia 3-Day

Heather VanDyke from Facebook: Always a good year walking in Philly when you get to see the Determined Divas & Dawgs … music, high fives & big smiles exactly when you need them along the route (rain or shine) 💕

@phillywalker from Twitter: City Avenue on Day 2 in Philly outside the Chili’s, but the absolute best is Day 1 and the kids at the school about a mile in.

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Twin Cities 3-Day

Stephanie Mayer, Twin Cities Coach: The Drum Heart group you’ll find every year on Day 2 at beautiful Lake Josephine Park, right along Mile 10.

There are sure to be some great cheering stations, new and old, on the 2017 3-Days. While all these cheering stations might not be back for another year, we can guarantee that all walkers will feel the love and excitement from our supporters.

Which cheering station do you have great memories of? Tell us in the comments! Or, do you know somebody that wants to set up a private cheering station along the 3-Day route? Contact your local coaches today by calling 800-996-3DAY!

2016 Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day Wrap-up

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On Friday morning, a brilliant blue-tinged sunrise illuminated the smiling faces of over 2,600 walkers ready to take the first steps of their 60-mile journey starting at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

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Towering palm trees lined the paths to the coast, as walkers breathed in fresh sea air on their way to the cheering stations and pit stops, which paved the way for our entrance into the idyllic Torrey Pines State Park, known notoriously for its giant hills but also its sweeping views.

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At mile 10.6, the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography cheered us on with joyful enthusiasm and pompoms, and then it was on to lunch at Kellogg Park. Our final pit stops of the day, at La Jolla Lutheran Church and Christ Lutheran Church kept us fueled up with grahamwiches and sports drink, and we loved the La Jolla Cove seals, who barked as walkers selfied.

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After an amazing day of 20.5 miles, back in camp at Crown Point Shores Park, we were treated to a moving speech by survivor Heather, 7-time walker and currently battling stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, and we all walked back to our tents inspired to pound the pavement strongly on Day 2.

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Walkers worked out their aches and pains the first few miles of Day 2 with photo opps with friendly creatures from Sea World! A barn owl, a screech owl, a porcupine, and a river otter were along the path, along with the Sea World Mascot, ready to strike a pose with our fabulous 3-Dayers.

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From Sea World it was past Robb and Ocean Beach Fields, and then Pit Stop 2, at the top of a scenic vista at Sunset View Elementary, leading to a wonderful downward stretch back along the coast.

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Lunch at Bonita Cova was muy bonita, and filled with amusements, from Chippendales dancer straight from Las Vegas, to thousands of vibrant Gerbera Daises being gifted to our strong walkers and crew. The San Diego Police Department also entertained us with a long and rockin’ dance party.

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The way out of lunch gifted us with friendly pets and licks from therapy dogs, and then onward to South Mission Beach Park and Belmont Park. img_9852

Pit Stop 4 at Fanuel Park was aloha, and as walkers hydrated and stretched, they said Mahalo to the Pit Stop and Aloha to the famous Cookie Lady, passing out hundreds of homemade cookies.

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The last two miles brought us through our inspiring Survivor Stretch, lined with the warriors of breast cancer, inspiring us to go on. Back in Camp, we honored and celebrated our 2016 Award Winners, and then danced the night away with our Youth Corps before retiring to our pink tents to drift off to dream of a world free of breast cancer forever.

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At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, we were all on our way toward Pit Stop 1 at De Anza Cove, and then the jubilant cheering station at the Mission Bay Park Visitor Information Center. The South Shore Park housed our Pit Stop 2, which at 7.1 miles, was where blisters were treated by our handy medical crew, water bottles were refilled, and the Youth Corps cheered up tired walkers with silly jokes and their energetic cheering.

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From Pit Stop 2 we began our walk into Old Town San Diego, where we started the ascent up the fabled Juan Street hill, aided by local Mexican restaurants serving free chips and salsa.

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Though the hill was challenging, we were applauded by survivors carrying signs saying “People like you saved my life”, spectators passing out sliced pickles, and adorable dogs in pink shirts.

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We loved the mansions towering over San Diego on our way into lunch at Pioneer Park, where salads and sandwiches helped us get ready for our final four miles of the day.

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The stunning Balboa Park housed cheering stations and our Pit Stop 3, where we posed with bronze statues, stretched, and then snapped pictures at the beautiful mile 59 marker drawn in chalk before our final two miles into Waterfront Park.

After 15.6 miles on Day 3, we marched proudly into the twilight of Closing Ceremony, surrounded by sweeping palm trees and our loved ones. Dusk descended upon the 3,000 people gathered in the park, and Dr. Sheri and Amber Livingston told us the astounding news that with our 2,600 walkers and 350 crew, we raised $7.6 million dollars. As we hugged and celebrated and danced, our message rang loud and clear; that though our feet may ache, our spirit, our tenacity, and our dedication will live forever; through aches, and pain, and blisters. We are shouting loudly and proudly that in this fight, where we seek to live in a world free of breast cancer, WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you, San Diego. We are so very proud of you.

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If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2017, sign up now for just $35 at The3Day.org/Register.