116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer is coming back next month for its 31st year, and race organizers have high hopes for an in-person event this year.
“At this point we are continuing to plan for an in-person race, so fingers crossed that works out,” race director Jeff Decker said. “We are working closely with internal and external partners to monitor the delta variant surge, and hopefully luck will be on our side with that.”
Decker said the race will be a little different this year in the name of safety and social distancing.
“Our goal going into this is to minimize congregating as much as possible,” Decker said. “So we’re going to be looking to provide masks for our participants to wear, we’ll have hand sanitizer in the start and finish areas, and we’re also working on setting things up so the racers start in waves of smaller groups separated by 30 minutes just so we can eliminate that large cluster at the start line.”
There also will be some changes when it comes to post-race activities.
“Historically, we held a pancake breakfast where we would have maybe 1,000 people, and was set up buffet style with tables outside for people to sit down and eat,” Decker said. “We would also usually have some kids activities like face painting or a bouncy house. This year, we’re not going to do any of that because we don’t want to have people gathering and congregating too much.”
Decker said racers likely will receive a snack bag and a bottle of water at the finish line.
The race is scheduled to take place on Oct. 3, starting at the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center on 10th Street SE.
Registration is $35 for adults and $20 for children 15 and younger, and remains open until race day. But Decker said those who want to participate are encouraged to register online early to avoid clusters of people trying to register the morning of the race.
Racers can choose between a 5K course or a family fun run that is approximately 1 mile.
Founded in 1991, the Especially for You race was created in memory of Sandy Knight, a General Mills employee who died in 1991 from breast cancer.
After her death, Knight’s sister, Cindy Young, approached Mercy and General Mills with the idea to honor her sister’s memory and the Especially for You race was born.
Knight was an advocate, Decker said. She was vocal about the need for regular breast cancer screenings, she was a charter member of the Especially for You support group and she was instrumental in starting a successful screening program for employees at the General Mills plant in Cedar Rapids.
“It was her wish that a fund be established to cover the cost of mammograms for disadvantaged women,” the Especially for You website notes.
Proceeds from the annual race help to provide breast and gynecological cancer screening and diagnostic services for those who are underinsured, uninsured or financially disadvantaged.
The race, Decker said, averages about 12,000 to 14,000 registrations per year, raising about $400,000 annually. To date, he said, the race has raised enough money to help more than 11,000 individuals access nearly 26,000 services.
“We are so appreciative of our community, the sponsors that we've gotten over the years,” Decker said. “This event is such a huge part of the community and it’s just amazing to see the support we have gotten from the community and our sponsors over the past 31 years. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, and I think it’s safe to say that most people have been impacted by breast cancer one way or another, whether it’s through their own diagnosis or the diagnosis or passing of a loved one. So I think this event, it turns into an annual celebration of battles fought and won, and it celebrates the memory and the lives of those who may no longer be with us.”
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