I rarely run 5ks as I devote weekends and my race fee budget to longer distances.  When I do a 5k, it has got to be for a great cause and a charity doing good work.  Yesterday, I ran the Komen Baton Rouge Race for the Cure.

My introduction to serious illness involved breast cancer.  Aunt Maureen fought… I mean  FOUGHT the disease for many many years before going home to be with the Lord.  She lived in another state, but one summer, my Momma sent me to there to provide a little help, but mostly to be company for my cousin who was close to my age.  I was young and did not fully comprehend what cancer was doing to her body, but I did see how it impacted the lives of all who loved Aunt Maureen.   I hate cancer, all kinds of cancer.  So I support cancer prevention, advocacy, education and research and try to get others involved via recruitment and organizing teams.    I started participating in the Komen Race for the Cure events shortly after they arrived in Baton Rouge and barring baby bearing years, I’ve walked or run each year.  

From their site: “Since 1982, Komen has played a critical role in every major advance in the fight against breast cancer – transforming how the world talks about and treats this disease and helping to turn millions of breast cancer patients into breast cancer survivors.”  Thru events like the Komen Race for the Cure, they have invested almost $2 billion to the fight against this disease contributing to victories such as a 33 percent decline in breast cancer mortality in the U.S. due to more early detection and effective treatment.

This year, ~120 Race for the Cure events will be held across the globe, with an estimated participation of over 1 million.  Baton Rouge did their part.   This year’s event was huge – between 13 and 14 thousand participants.  By far the largest race I’ve seen in the Capital City.   As far as the eye could see, there were throngs of people; walkers, runners, volunteers and supporters celebrating life and supporting the cause. 
 A few favorite elements:

  • Special luxury ride for breast cancer patients who are unable to physically walk the race but want to make the journey along the course. 

  • The faces of breast cancer survivors as they crossed the finish line and were presented with a hug, flower and medal. Beautiful.
  • The many teams, with shirts and signs honoring a beloved friend or family member impacted by breast cancer.  There were a lot of tears and smiles.   Very touching and heart warming.

  • The witty (and sometimes risqué) shirts about the cause.  My favorites – a man wearing a pink wig, leggings and tutu with a shirt that read: “BREAST CANCER Aint nobody got time for that!”, and a young beautiful woman in a ridiculously kooky outfit centered around a shirt that read “I’ve lost a boob, but not my sense of humor.”
  • Other out there outfits and antics including a set of brothers who leap frogged to the finish line.  Yep – they did…not the whole race of course, just the end. SMH.

  • The “Pretty in Pink” warm up was by the Hip Hop DocDr. Rani Whitfield.  The song is a rap honoring the strength of women fighting breast cancer. It’s available on itunes and amazonand all proceeds go to the Susan B. Komen Foundation of Baton Rouge.  (I greatly admire the work Dr Whitfield does promoting health and wellness in the African American community.)
  • The ability to upcharge your registration to include placement at the front of the start line, (so runners are not blocked by walkers), race timing, separate finish area and a medal.
  • Abundant food/drinks/information booths. The Jambalaya village was ON!

Another huge highlight was sharing the race with members of my church family.  Team New Hope showed up.   Our largest team in years, we got Third place in the Religious Team category.  A few members pushed their comfort zones – completing the 5k instead of the intended 1 mile fun run.  Others ran for the first time … and loved it.   It was wonderful participation and fellowship.  

A special moment was shared with Sister JoAnn Selvage who at the race celebrated her first year being breast cancer free.  God is good!

Hands down, this is my favorite 5k race.  Thanks to the organizers and volunteers who work so hard and are passionately connected to the cause.  See you next year.

BTW – quick race info:  It was COLD (well South Louisiana cold that morning…I’m thinking the 40s).  I did a comfortable run as it was my first time out post Rock N Roll Marathon 6 days ago.  10 min/mile avg pace (per Garmin) 10 1/2 mm per chip reporting. Enjoyed it! 

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