We’ve closed the books on the 2016 Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day, and not surprisingly, it will go down as one of our best events yet. With some extensive changes made to its route on all three days (more than any other 2016 3-Day event), the 2016 Seattle 3-Day had some new features that were exciting for all 600 walkers and 200 crew members, whether they were first-timers or seasoned veterans. And even through showers of “liquid sunshine” (aka, rain) on Saturday, the Seattle 3-Dayers’ spirits never wavered as they enjoyed 60 miles of this beautiful corner of the Pacific Northwest in some new and exciting ways.
As all 3-Day events do, the Seattle 3-Day began on Friday morning with a lovely Opening Ceremony held at Seattle Center near the iconic structure that makes Seattle’s skyline instantly recognizable: the Space Needle. Amber Livingston from Susan G. Komen® hosted the ceremony along with Dr. Sheri Prentiss. Moved by their fellow 3-Dayers who shared their own inspirations, and driven by the bravery of the beautiful Survivor’s Circle, walkers set out, determined to face the 60-mile road ahead.
The first part of Day 1’s route was familiar to walkers who have been in Seattle the last several years. After exiting Seattle Center, the pink parade made its way out of the downtown Seattle area and toward pit stop 1, where they were greeted with a festive fiesta. From there, they weaved down to the waterfront of Lake Washington (many stopped for incredible photos of majestic Mt. Rainier to the south) and set off across one of Seattle’s “floating” bridges to cross the lake. On Mercer Island on the east side of the lake, walkers quickly reached pit stop 2, where they were welcomed by some cheerful lumberjacks (and lumberjills) and their big-footed friend.
Lunch on Day 1 was a wild west show at Surrey Downs Park in Bellevue, and after leaving the lunch stop, even walkers familiar with the past Seattle routes noticed Day 1’s big changes. The route passed through the heart of the business district of Bellevue to pit stop 3 at Bellevue Highlands Park. From there, walkers ascended a short (yay!) but steep (ugh.) hill onto a trail which eventually exited them onto the Microsoft campus in Redmond. This is the first time that the 3-Day route has passed through Microsoft, which was exciting for walkers and the superheroes of Grab & Go B who set up there. After exiting Microsoft, walkers picked back up with the 2015 route, heading back into Bellevue again for a short little stretch. From there, it was back into Redmond and down to Idylwood Park on Lake Sammamish. Goodies from pit stop 4 and support from friends at the last cheering station fueled walkers for the couple of miles into camp at Marymoor Park, completing Day 1’s 20.7 mile distance.
On Friday night, Amber was joined on stage by Miguel Perez, Komen’s Senior Vice President, Affiliate Network. Miguel introduced David Richart, Executive Director of Komen Puget Sound, who shared some insights into the breast cancer programs that are funded by 3-Day proceeds at the local level. David then introduced Dr. Nora Disis from University of Washington Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who is a Komen grantee researching tumor immunology and the potential for a vaccine that could actually prevent breast cancer.
Dr. Nora Disis
Dr. Sheri joined Amber on stage to thank the 3-Day’s sponsors (Bank of America and Mohawk Flooring) and we played our own 3-Day version of “Who Wore It Best.” The comical game was followed by a stirring speech by breast cancer survivor speech Kathy Bressler and the always-inspiring Youth Corps speeches.
In spite of our best attempts at wishing for sunshine, we awoke to rainy skies on Saturday morning. But that didn’t stop Seattle! They ponchoed up and headed out onto a 19.9 mile Day 2 that included bits and pieces of last year’s route and a lot of different part too. Right away, walkers who were accustomed with the previous Seattle itinerary noticed that the course was reversed out of camp, taking walkers to Sammamish River Trail and into Redmond Town Center (no more big hill to climb right out of camp! Hooray!). The walk through downtown Redmond was also changed up a bit, leading walkers to the Redmond Connector Trail and up to Redmond Way to Grasslawn Park for pit stop 1 (this lovely site has been pit 1 on Day 2 for many years). Out of the park, walkers took a new route through residential Redmond and into Kirkland through a wooded trail and new neighborhoods. Pit stop 2 was at a new site at Spinney Homestead Park, and from there, the route took walkers down to a stretch of the Kirkland Connector Trail into Kirkland. The route through Kirkland was recognizable but reversed from last year’s course, taking walkers down into lunch at the north end of Lake Washington at Juanita Beach Park. By afternoon, the rain had eased up, and out of lunch, the reversed-from-last-year route continued through quaint downtown Kirkland and along the waterfront. A new little uphill stretch had a surprise at the top as walkers reached the Grab & Go and got to stroll through Google Park and campus. From there, it was onto another section of the Kirkland Connector Trail, then another stretch of reversed route. Pit 3 was still a tropical paradise, even in Seattle’s stormy weather. Walkers trekked back up and over the interstate via pedestrian bridge into the Bridle Trails neighborhood, an area with lots of lovely horse properties, then into Redmond again and back to Grasslawn Park for a cheering station this time. Benjamin Rush Elementary was our new pit stop 4, and the exit from that stop was the start of the Survivor Stretch. This last 1.6 mile section was the beginning of last year’s Day 2 route but (you guessed it!) in reverse, downhill (ah!) and back to camp.
Saturday is Friends & Family Night at the 3-Day, and many walkers and crew members were joined by loved ones in camp. On stage, we welcomed back Miguel from Susan G. Komen who talked about Komen’s bold new goal—to decrease breast cancer deaths by 50% in the next 10 years—and shared his family’s own personal connection with breast cancer. The 2016 3-Day season began in August in Michigan, which was the 3-Day’s 150th walk, and we’re celebrating this amazing milestone at every 3-Day event in 2016. So with glasses of yummy sparkling grape juice raised, Amber led us in a toast (followed by surprise cupcakes for everyone), and the camp show went on to recognize some Seattle participants who reached milestones of their own, including top fundraisers and local award winners. And of course, the Saturday night dance party followed with typical flair.
In the morning on Day 3, walkers loaded into buses and were delivered to University of Washington for the start of an almost entirely new Day 3 route. From UW, walkers hit the Burke Gilman Trail, but instead of going left (southbound), they went right (northbound) into Ravenna Park to Ravenna Blvd., then west to Green Lake. The route skirted the Green Lake area and neighborhoods before arriving at our first pit stop at Lower Woodland Park. The route then moved into the Wallingford area and parts of the Fremont neighborhood. Then it was back down to the Burke Gilman Trail to Gas Works Park, which previously had been pit stop 1 but was pit stop 2 this year. Out of Gas Works, instead of going to the Ballard Locks and Magnolia, walkers went to the downtown area of Fremont, over the Fremont Bridge to the trail that runs around the west side of Lake Union. Lake Union Park at the south end of the lake was our new Day 3 lunch stop, and on the way in to the beautiful park, walkers were greeted by Dr. Sheri, Amber and Miguel and presented with awesome “I Am More Than Pink” superhero capes to wear for the rest of the day. From lunch, we took a new route through South Lake Union, near where Amazon.com is headquartered (what a tour of Northwest tech companies we had this weekend!), and through downtown Seattle toward the bustling Pike Place Market. Descending the stairs down to the waterfront, walkers headed north to the Olympic Sculpture Garden for an Elliot Bay Sunday cheering station along Puget Sound before arriving at a new pit stop 3 at Centennial Park. Now, walkers were in the home stretch, coming up through lower Queen Anne and back to the Participant Finish Area at Seattle Center where we all started on Friday morning.
Clad in their hard-earned victory shirts, walkers and crew members marched into Memorial Stadium at the triumphant end of their 60-mile journey. Amber and Dr. Sheri were our hosts again for Closing Ceremony, and they thanked our many wonderful supporters, sponsors and local jurisdictions. Soon after, we brought in the final group of Seattle 3-Dayers, our breast cancer survivors, and together, we saluted their bravery and celebrated the Seattle 3-Day’s remarkable $1.8 million raised.
We’ve said it hundreds of times, but it can never be said too much: thank you. We are truly indebted to the Seattle 3-Day family and humbled by the commitment, the energy and the spirit of every single person who is part of this event, whether as walkers, crew, cheerleaders or donors. To those of you who we’ll see again down the road this year, we look forward to it, and to the many of you who will make Seattle your pink home for three days in 2017, we can’t wait to see you again. Onward to Atlanta!