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

3DAY_2017_ATL_MDER_0026.jpg

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.

3DAY_2017_SEA_MDER_0192.jpg

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.

3Day_2017_SEA_MDER-695

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!
3DAY_2017_SEA_MDER_0291.jpg

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.

3Day_2017_SEA_MDER-292

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.

3DAY_2017_SEA_MDER_0206.jpg

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.

 

Learn More About the 3-Day Host Cities

We are almost done with our 2017 3-Days, and we can’t believe how the time has flown! It has been an amazing few months, and we are all excited to close out our year in San Diego next week. The support and love from all our host cities has been just what our participants needed to complete their 60-Mile journeys.

To spread our excitement for our final event, and get you ready for our 2018 walks, we have made photo slideshows of some of our favorite spots you’ve seen on the 3-Day routes.

Whether you were walking in your own home town, or traveling to a 3-Day city far away, take a look below! Also, click on the city you’ll be walking in 2018 to link to our coaches’ Facebook pages. They are a wonderful resource for everything you’ll need to know about the 3-Day now and for next year.

Michigan

Twin Cities

Philadelphia

Seattle

Atlanta

Dallas/Fort Worth

San Diego

What are you most looking forward to seeing on the 3-Day? Tell us in the comments below!

2017 Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day Wrap-Up

IMG_1000.JPG

On Friday morning of our first West Coast 2017 3-Day, the sky cleared for a bright blue fall sunrise next to the Space Needle at Seattle Center. Our 500 walkers and 175 crew started their journey with a poignant and emotional Opening Ceremony led by local participants.

IMG_1007

Our first Pit Stop of the 3-Day was at Daejon Park after 3.3 miles of walking in perfect weather conditions! Walkers took in the Seattle waterfront as they enjoyed the beach theme of the pit stop, complete with “shark attack” photo opps and a treasure chest of fun 3-Day treats!

IMG_1038

From there, they passed through Mercer Island Park, and an amazing local cheering station before arriving at lunch at Downtown Bellevue Park. With fountains, tiered grassy areas for lounging and eating, and a bright sunshine, it could not have been a more relaxing lunch spot.

That afternoon, walkers passed through more of the Seattle suburbs including Bellevue and Redmond, before arriving home at camp that night. Throughout the whole day (and indeed the whole weekend) the Seattle Police Department worked with our route safety team to keep all the walkers safe as they made their way home.

IMG_1064.JPG

Our walkers ended their day at the picturesque Marymoor Park, which had turned into a 3-Day wonderland for the weekend! From the Bank of America putt putt golf course and massage chairs, to performances by local singers, to our amazing 3-Day Food Service Crew serving up a delicious dinner, our walkers were welcomed home in style after 22.3 miles.

That night at camp show we celebrated our Local Impact Winner, Judy Kent, and Milestone Winner, Erin Havens, for Seattle. Our top fundraisers were also recognized by Bank of America. Congrats to Top Crew Fundraiser John McHale, Top Individual Fundraiser Loretta Englishbee and Top Fundraising Team, the Valley Girls & Guys!

IMG_1114

After a good night’s sleep, the sun rose on another beautiful fall day of walking.

The day kicked off at Grasslawn Park, where some four-legged friends joined the ranks to cheer on our walkers! By Pit Stop 2 at Spinney Homestead Park, our walkers had already clocked 6.9 miles for Day Two. Pit Stop 2 was a fan favorite for its Dr. Seuss theme. It helped remind the walkers that every person is a person, no matter how small – and every step is a step towards the cure!

IMG_1120

Then at lunch at Juanita Beach Park, we met our amazing Seattle 3-Day Youth Corps via Facebook Live, and heard their stories of dedication and strength. Walkers were already halfway done with their second 20-mile day, and taking it all in easy stride!

Right after lunch there was a local cheering station in the beautiful Heritage Park, as the whole community got involved to cheer on our walkers. Plus, it was a great spot for photos!

At Pit Four, and mile 18.5, our walkers could “wet their whistle” at an Old West themed stop. They were cheered on their way to the final miles of the day by the local Susan G. Komen Puget Sound Affiliate, who also brought coffee for an extra caffeine boost at the end of the day.

IMG_1178.JPG

It was friends and family night at camp, so local supporters came to camp at Marymoor Park to play at the Bank of America putt putt and game areas, and continue to cheer on their amazing walkers! Our 20-Mile walkers also joined the 3-Day family that evening before the whole group turned in for their last night of camping.

Day Three dawned a little cooler, but with perfect walking weather for our September Sunday. We began at the University of Washington before walking through Cowen Park to our first Pit Stop of the day. Our walkers were already 3.6 miles closer to the finish line!

IMG_1191

 

From there, there were more miles in nature through Seattle’s gorgeous parks before lunch close to the water at Lake Union Park. With only six miles left in Day Three, walkers then made their way through the iconic Olympic Sculpture Park.

We had a little liquid sunshine as the Sunday afternoon wore on, but our walkers powered through and finished the 60 miles with smiles on their faces. Our closing ceremony was full of love, congratulations and (of course) a lot of dancing feet!

IMG_1219

Our journey is never truly done, though, as was evidenced throughout our closing ceremony. We are all still working, and walking, towards Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.

21586983_1917551221594214_6577381836395293904_o

Photo via Simply Darling Duo

As we hugged and celebrated and danced together, one message rang loud and clear; that though our feet may ache, our spirit and 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, Seattle. We are so very proud of each and every one of you.

If you’re ready to be a part of this incredible journey again in 2018, sign up now at The3Day.org/Register.