Meet Your San Diego 3-Day Coaches

Before we head to the West Coast for the start of the San Diego 3-Day tomorrow, we wanted to make sure you are well acquainted with your local coaches! These are the amazing women who support the walkers and crew members all year round, answering phone calls and emails, hosting community events, assigning crew captains and juggling dozens of other tasks to make sure that the 3-Day is the best weekend of the year. If you don’t know Coaches Jen and Staci, Crew Coordinator Amy and Event Planner Meredith yet, you’re missing out! They are everything that is amazing about the 3-Day family, all wrapped up into one dedicated, supportive and loving team.

Before you lace up your shoes for this weekend, let’s meet your San Diego team, and hear why the 3-Day means so much to them (in their own words) …

What are you most excited for this year?

Coach Amy: Seeing the smiling faces of my sweet crew. It is a magical feeling when you are surrounded by people who desire nothing more than to give all that is asked of them and so much more. That includes the whole 3-Day community, too. The 3-Day is a beautiful example of what happens when you allow love to rule over everything you do!

Coach Staci: I am so excited to welcome participants from afar to my beautiful hometown! Seeing the 3-Day friends I’ve known for years and finally meeting new participants face-to-face is always amazing. I also love watching the 3-Day route come alive with community support.

Coach Jen is at left

What can walkers and Crew look forward to over this weekend?

Coach Meredith: The views, the hills, and the community support. What can I say, there are many reasons why San Diego is “America’s Finest City!”

Coach Jen: The breathtaking natural beauty of Torrey Pines, the newly added Quince Street Bridge on Sunday, and our Closing Ceremony at Waterfront Park, in the shadow of downtown San Diego. It’s going to be the time of our lives!

Coach Amy: So much beauty! The Top of Torrey Pines hill, waves crashing along Sunset Cliffs and sunrise at Mission Bay.

What is your advice for any San Diego 3-Dayers?

Coach Meredith: The 3-Day is an emotional journey as much as it is a physical one. Take a few moments before the walk begins to mentally prepare for the love, support, and emotional connections that are the foundation of the 3-Day community.

Coach Jen: Make time to make new friends. Laugh a lot, but know that it’s okay to cry, too. Be proud of every step you take, every dollar you raised and every minute you volunteer — you are making a difference in the fight to end breast cancer!

What does the 3-Day mean to you?

Coach Amy: It is magical. On the 3-Day, you will experience something that defies explanation. You will be challenged, inspired, pushed harder and appreciated more than you have ever before. It is a magical thing and I wish I could bottle up this magic and sprinkle it all year long!

Coach Staci: People from all walks of life coming together with a common purpose and determination. Yes, we’ll have fun (and lots of it), but the underlying mission of our time together is the unbreakable thread of connection that comes from a desire to make the world a better place.

Tell us about your fellow coaches!

Coach Meredith: I get to work with the DREAM TEAM in San Diego. My fellow coaches are dedicated, have a rich historical knowledge of the 3-Day and are just plain fun to be with!

Coach Jen: The most compassionate and committed women I know! Whether it’s assisting a new local walker, finding the perfect position on our crew or creating the safest and most memorable route for our San Diego 3-Day walkers…they are always ready to help!

Coach Staci: I’m incredibly lucky to work with the most compassionate and smart event professionals there can possibly be. Being able to also call them friends is the icing on top!

2019 San Diego 3-Day Route Preview

Our final 3-Day of the year is coming up this weekend, and we are so excited to be kicking off the 2019 San Diego 3-Day. As Friday fast approaches, we are giving you a sneak peek at our 60-mile route, which will immerse everyone in the stunning sights of San Diego and celebrate the final walk of the year.

Event Manager, Meredith Parker walked her first 3-Day in San Diego years ago, so she (along with all your San Diego coaches) is very happy to welcome all of our participants next weekend. She has big plans for a great weekend ahead!

That starts with our Opening Ceremony, which will once again begin at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This spot has become a favorite for participants and supporters alike, and we’re excited to once again kick off our journey here.

Day One is very similar to last year, which means that participants need to lace up their shoes for the infamous Torrey Pines hill at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve!

“Anybody who has ever spent time in San Diego or Torrey Pines knows it’s the most serene piece of coastline. When people I know are visiting the city, I always recommend Torrey Pines. It’s just breathtaking,” Meredith enthuses.

We will also be making our way through Del Mar, which is always so welcoming to our walkers! After lunch at the picturesque Kellogg Park, we will enter La Jolla and spend Friday afternoon walking through the area, including passing Pacific Beach.

Meredith loves that part of the day, saying, “I love walking through La Jolla and going past La Jolla Cove and the tide pools. It’s another spectacular piece of coastline.”

We will finish the day at our outdoor camp site at Crown Point Shores, which has been a wonderful location for the last several years.

“Where else can you camp and get a water view?” Meredith smiles. “It’s the cheapest and greatest waterfront view you can get in San Diego. It’s just so beautiful and a wonderful environment for us all to be together.”

It will make for a cozy spot to spend the night after our first 20 miles. 😊

Walkers can then expect some changes on Day Two. After listening to participant feedback from last year, we have worked very closely with the amazing San Diego Police Department to make some updates to Saturday afternoon that we think people will really enjoy.

Because of these updates, our lunch location is now in Bonita Cove! We are very excited about this spot, but Meredith wants to make sure that walkers know that lunch will now be a little later in the day on Saturday. So, be sure to fuel up at breakfast and at the Pit Stops throughout the morning on Day Two.

After lunch, walkers will start seeing those changes as they go along Ocean Front Walk, which will take them through South Mission Beach. In years past, we have stayed along Ocean Front Walk for much of the afternoon, but instead, we will be finishing up Saturday with a walk on Sail Bay. This provides new views and more excitement throughout the afternoon before we come back to camp.

Meredith is most excited for our final Honor Ceremony of the year when we all return to camp on Saturday night. This impactful experience is a new part of the 3-Day this year, and everyone from coaches to participants to family and friends have really appreciated the addition.

“It brings us back to the heart of why we all participate in the 3-Day together,” Meredith explains.

Sunday morning will dawn bright and sunny, bringing walkers to the Northern section of Ocean Front Walk as they make their way through Mission Beach. The boardwalk will be a fun and exciting way to kick off Day Three!

Other highlights include the Juan Street hill, which always leaves walkers with a great feeling of accomplishment — and some serious selfie views — when you reach the top!

In addition, walkers will have the option of crossing the Quince Street Bridge before entering Balboa Park. If you’re scared of heights, we will have shuttles on hand to drive you around, but we really encourage everyone to take advantage of this new portion of our walk!

Our Finish Line and Closing Ceremony will bring our 60-mile journey to a close, once again at Waterfront Park.

We will still be on the West side of the park, which gives us beautiful views of North San Diego Bay. Meredith loves the updates we have made to this final celebration for 2019.

“We have been making changes to make sure this is as an immersive and engaging and intimate Closing Ceremony as possible. We want to close out the year as one big 3-Day family!”

We are so excited to celebrate with San Diego all weekend long and end our 2019 3-Day season making committed strides together towards a cure for breast cancer. Let’s go!

Two Walkers, One 3-Day Love with Dylan and Karla from the San Diego 3-Day

It only took 3 days and 60 miles for Dylan and Karla to feel the spark. 365 days later, they took that journey again, this time as husband and wife. Though they had both been involved for the 3-Day in years past, Dylan and Karla didn’t officially meet until friends introduced them on the 2017 San Diego 3-Day. Dylan started walking for his ex-wife’s good friend in 2002 and has now participated in 13 events. 2016 was Karla’s first year walking. But 2017 was the one that counted, because that’s when they met each other. That’s where their story began…

How did you then meet each other?

Dylan had walked in the Philly event in 2016 and again in 2017 along with other good 3-Day friends. When the 2017 San Diego 3-Day came around we were introduced by common friends at the Red Marlin Day 0 party. Our friends had no idea what would happen in the days to come.

What was your first walk like together?

That depends who you ask. 😉 Dylan would say the first day wasn’t like any other walk. Karla might say she had her eye on Dylan, but the first day was fairly normal. The second day we walked together more, talked more and started to realize there was a spark. By Day 3, it was pretty clear we had a strong connection. Plans were altered and the Monday following the 3-Day we spent all day wandering around San Diego. For the sake of brevity, many details are being left out, but it goes without saying (now) that we couldn’t deny the connection.

And how has your 3-Day experience changed over time?

We continue to meet amazing people who have become dear to our hearts and unfortunately a few of these dear friends have lost their lives, which gives us more reason to continue this effort. Together we are more determined to raise money and participate. As far as the actual walk goes, it’s changed considerably given we basically walk all 60 miles holding hands.

This year was your first walk as a married couple!

Dylan proposed to Karla a month after the 2017 3-Day (right before Christmas). She moved to Raleigh from Atlanta two months after that. We both decided pretty quickly we wanted to get married in San Diego right before the 2018 3-Day but the details kind of fell into place over the next few months. On a drive from Orange County to San Diego in January 2018 we passed Oceanside, the city Dylan’s dad grew up in. We visited the house his dad grew up in and, subsequently, drove a few miles south to Carlsbad where Dylan’s grandfather had established a church in the early ‘60s after retiring from the Navy as a Chaplain. The visit wasn’t intended for scoping out a wedding venue, but we both decided after walking the church campus that there was no better place to profess our love for each other and to bring both families together. As more plans came together, we decided the Red Marlin (where we had originally met) was an obvious location for the reception and of course that meant our guests would be staying at the Hyatt Mission Bay. It was not only our wedding host hotel, but also the 3-Day host hotel! It was pretty cool seeing our wedding family transition to our 3-Day family.

And what was it like walking only a few days later?

It made for a LONG week. We got to San Diego the Sunday before the 3-Day and didn’t get back home to Raleigh until the day after Thanksgiving. We both had a blast walking in the 3-Day for our honeymoon. 😊 We also spent a couple of days at the Hotel Del Coronado following the Closing Ceremony.

You were also featured in the camp show this year for the Newlywed Game!

It went by so fast we barely remember! Dylan does remember being right on more of the questions than Karla. LOL

What are some lessons you’ve learned on the 3-Day that also apply to your relationship?

Sometimes in the real world it’s good to have the 3-Day family as an example of giving and philanthropy to look back on for reference. We both have lifelong friends we’ve met at the 3-Day and get to see throughout the year.

What makes a great 3-Day walking partner?

One who will hold your hand and listen to your rambling.

And partner in life?

Not much different! We are each other’s priority and nothing else is more important. It helps that we basically think the same way.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

Well, Karla’s birthday is 2 days after Valentine’s Day so it’s kind of a combined thing. We honestly don’t put much emphasis on Valentine’s Day. We don’t need a holiday to remind us to love each other. That said, for Karla’s birthday she wanted to go to the Daytona 500 so we’re going to Florida that weekend and watching fast cars turn left for a few hours. I’m sure we’ll be holding hands the entire time 😊