I’ll never forget the first Komen Race for the Cure 5K that I entered. The cool October air was invigorating, and the sea of pink that 35,000 participants created was both emotional and inspiring. At that time, I was not a runner. I was active and exercised regularly but only ran to get my heart rate up. Something changed that Saturday morning that created a motivation in me to run. Knowing that I was in decent shape, I attempted to start with the first couple hundred or so runners. I knew I could run at least the first mile without stopping and by that point the crowd would spread out and give some breathing room. As I started slowing down at the 1 mile mark, I noticed beautiful women running past me wearing the well-known breast cancer survivor t-shirts. Survivors of all ages were running the race and there I was, a healthy, young woman, without a care in the world, and I was walking to catch my breath.
The next year, I made it my goal to run without stopping and be in the first 300 finishers to receive a Komen Race for the Cure medal. I remember sharing my goal with Julie Bridgforth, an amazing runner and friend who had served on the Komen Board of Directors and as Race Director. She informed me that historically only the runners that finished the race with a time under 27 minutes would be in the top 300. I knew then that making my goal was going to require serious training.
The next race came, and I still remember looking down at my watch in that last stretch of the race and seeing 26:40. Then, a voice from heaven, or maybe just another running friend, Gene Graves, yelled, “Blue shirt!!!” I glanced behind me and not far back at all was a gal wearing a blue shirt. I knew she was number 300, and I needed to run to the finish line like never before. I ran the 5K without stopping and was in the top 300. It was an exciting moment. There have been many Race for the Cure pink ribbons with medals since then, and what always stayed consistent is the dedication to Komen’s mission of ending breast cancer through education, screening, treatment and research. This year’s race theme, “More Than Pink,” encourages us to think past the color associated with breast cancer and do more than wear it. It’s time for us to fight, advocate, fundraise, volunteer and do more to make a world without breast cancer a reality.
If you are interested, go to the website, www.komenarkansas.org and join the JRMC team or call Brandy Baugh, JRMC Team Captain at 870-541-7890. Our team members receive a t-shirt in addition to the one that Komen gives to participants.
Check out the training plans below to help you do your best at Race for the Cure:
Tips for a Faster 5K: http://bit.ly/2viNcKh