October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To spread knowledge and support a cure for this awful disease, thousands of athletes are getting outside and taking part in walks, runs, bike rides, and other athletic events across the globe. With such a wide variety of opportunities, everyone has a chance to inspire, educate, empower, and help change the future of those diagnosed with breast cancer. Here are some of the best events offered nationwide that will give you a reason to get active this October.
- The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is held in more than 300 communities across the country. Started by cancer survivor Margie Gould Rath in 1984, the event has attracted over eight million participants and raised more than $460 million. Unlike most other events, Making Strides does not require walkers to pay a registration fee. Instead, they simply encourage each walker to raise at least $100 for the cause. Walks range from three to five miles and are non-competitive, so there is no excuse not to find the walk nearest you and get involved.
- The National Race for the Cure is the Susan G. Komen foundation’s largest breast cancer fundraiser. Since its inception in 1983, the 5K run series has expanded to more than 140 races with more than 1.6 million people participating on four continents. This year, the race has expanded even further, offering opportunities to those in the Bahamas, Belguim, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Uzbekistan. Each race celebrates survivals through a special recognition program, as well as honors those who have passed by encouraging “In Memory of” signs to be worn on runners backs. Find a race here.
- The second most recognized Susan G. Komen event is the 3-Day for the Cure. This three-day walk requires participants to get involved in the breast cancer community by tackling a 60-mile route. Each walker must raise at least $2,300 for breast cancer research, making this event one of the most expensive, but also, according to participants, one of the most worth-while events. The camaraderie that walkers experience as they dress in all pink, sing songs, hold up signs, and encourage one another to continue walking is unmatched by any other breast cancer event. Every night, walkers are also invited to gather together at “camp” to eat, shower, sleep, and party. The 3-day has become so popular that the schedule has expanded drastically over the last few years. Walks now begin in early June and last until the end until November. Check the schedule to find one near you.
- The Avon Walk has raised more than $471 million for breast cancer since 2003. Eight major U.S. cities play host to the two-day event each year, allowing millions of participants, 16 and older, to trek 39 miles through downtown. Every Avon walker is asked to raise $1,800 to help end breast cancer, and, once they are registered, have the chance to be a part of a community that shares stories, training tips, and other resources for those seeking to fight for a cure. Find out more on their website.
- More than 11,000 women under 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the U.S. The Tour de Pink, hosted by the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), is a unique cycling event focused on creating a community for these under 40 women. The YSC specifically targets young women because those under 40 who are diagnosed generally face lower survival rates and more aggressive cancer than those over 40. The YSC hosts three main events; a three-day ride from Philadelphia to Washington DC, a ride through downtown Atlanta, and a ride along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. The organization has recently grown, gathering popularity nationwide, and so the YSC is now expanding its reach with indoor relay races and virtual rides as well.
- You’ve probably heard something about Dirty Girl Mud Runs. These 5K obstacle courses are gaining huge popularity because, unlike some of the other races on our list, they are exclusively for women. Dirty Girl and Bright Pink offer women of all ages and athletic abilities the opportunity to raise money for health and prevention of breast cancer through education and proper medical practices. So, if you are looking to get down and dirty for the cause, visit one of the 60 events that are offered year round.
- The 26.2 with Donna, The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer is proudly proclaimed as being “dedicated solely to raising funds to end breast cancer.” All participants can be sure that 100 percent of what is raised goes to breast cancer research and care. Although the marathon does not take place until mid-February, runners and walkers are encouraged to sign up now and start getting involved with the community. The first race took place in 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida, where it is still run today. But since then, the Donna organization has expanded to virtual races, and, for the first time this year, a bike race.