CEDAR RAPIDS — Overwhelming.
That’s how Mary Porter describes seeing a sea of runners and walkers gathered each year at the starting line of the Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer in Cedar Rapids.
“I know a few people who have been through a breast cancer journey and they say they don’t want to be a part of the race because they don’t want to be reminded of the cancer,” said Porter, 50, of Cedar Rapids, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2012. “For me, it just makes me feel great to see the sea of color — this year it’s gray — and to feel that support.
“It almost brings a tear to your eye.”
Porter took part in her first Especially for You race in October 2013 and plans to be at the starting line again this year when the 27th annual race steps off at 8 a.m. Sunday from in front of the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, 701 10th St. SE. She’ll be with a team of supporters — family and friends — that has dubbed itself “Pink Strong.”
“My journey was kind of long,” said Porter. “I had a double mastectomy, two rounds of reconstruction and radiation.”
She’s a survivor and a volunteer.
“I had heard of the race before, but had never really been involved,” she said. “I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and the people and wanted to be a bigger part of it, so I started volunteering.”
Michelle Cole, race director, said it takes an army of volunteers to host the race, which annually draws thousands of participants.
“As of today, we’re over 14,000 registered,” said Cole, noting that’s on par with previous years. “We’re going to have an amazing time.”
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The Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer was founded by Mercy Medical Center and General Mills, and is dedicated to the memory of Sandy Knight, who lost her fight against breast cancer in July 1991.
Knight was a General Mills employee and a charter member of the Especially for You Support Group. It was her wish that a fund be established to cover the cost of mammograms for disadvantaged women. She also was instrumental in generating a successful screening program at the General Mills plant in Cedar Rapids.
Those who participate in the race are helping to support free mammograms, as well as breast care and gynecological services to area residents in need through the Especially for You Fund.
Here is your guide to this year’s event:
Q: When is the race?
A: Opening ceremonies are at 7:45 a.m. Sunday. The 5k run begins at 8 a.m. with the 5k walk and Family Fun Walk immediately following.
Q: Where are the start and finish lines?
A: The start line is in front of the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, 701 10th St. SE. The finish line is in NewBo near the NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE. To see a map of the race route, click here.
Q: How much does it cost to participate?
A: $35 for adults, $20 for youth ages 15 and younger.
Q: Can I still register?
A: Yes. Registration this year is online only. To sign up, go to especiallyforyourace.org. Registration can be completed as late as race day morning. Registration stations will be available in the Community Room at the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, 701 10th St. SE, beginning at 7 a.m.
Q: When is packet pickup?
A: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday in parking lot 19, which is located between Seventh and Eighth streets SE and Fourth and Fifth avenues SE. Enter the lot from Seventh Street SE and exit to Eighth Street SE. Packets also may be picked up from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Sunday in the Community Room at the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, 701 10th St. SE.
Q: Are there any restrictions for the event?
A: Yes. Dogs, bicycles, hover boards, roller skates and in-line skates are prohibited from the course. Stollers/joggers and wagons are permitted.
Q: Is a survivor photo being taken this year?
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A: Yes. Lineup starts at 7:15 a.m. Sunday with the photo set for 7:30 a.m. All registered survivors receive a pink scarf.
Q: Is there a post-race party?
A: Yes. The party takes place at NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE and features a $5 pancake breakfast put on with help from the Ely and Robbins fire departments, as well as activities for children and live music.
Q: Where can I get more information about the event?
A: Online at especiallyforyourace.org, by calling (319) 398-6582 or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.