For Americans across the country, October is known for cooler temperatures, trick-or-treating and — as of the last three decades — pink ribbons, 3-day walks and coming together to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. In 1985, October was designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in hopes of increasing awareness of early detection methods like mammography as the most effective way to combat breast cancer. And it’s really made a positive impact.
Now, more than 30 years later, people around the world don their best pink every October to shine a spotlight on this disease and its impact. With a new case of breast cancer being diagnosed every two minutes in the United States, the need to raise both funds and awareness is as important as ever.
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One of the best ways for runners and walkers to get involved is to do a race. Races are not just in October, either. Running and walking events benefitting breast cancer are held all around the country on nearly every weekend of the year. If you’re looking to get involved, it’s pretty easy. We’ve put together a few of the heavy-hitters:
Race for the Cure
Susan G. Komen, one of the country’s largest and most widely known breast cancer organizations, hosts 146 races each year to raise funds for a cure and support those affected by the disease. It started in 1986 with 800 participants in the first race today’s events that annually host more than 1 million racers combined. Komen’s events attract walkers, runners and — the most inspiring attendees — breast cancer survivors.
According to the Komen website, 75 percent of the net income from each race benefits the local community hosting it. Since the races began, there’s been more than $2 billion raised nationwide. Some of the largest races are in Columbus, New York City, Houston, Denver and even Rome. Taking the 5K events even further, Komen offers 3-Day options in seven U.S. cities where participants walk 60 miles over three days, camp in pink tents and clean up in mobile shower trucks.
To find a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure near you, search their website for a date and location.
Making Strides Against Cancer
The American Cancer Society offers countless fundraising walks to support those impacted by breast cancer. Making Strides Against Cancer events can be found in more than 270 communities across the country — offering distances from 3–5 miles and hosting more than 11 million participants since the first event in 1984 in Boston. Since then, these events have collectively raised over $685 million in the fight against breast cancer.
With the American Cancer Society based in Atlanta, the event held in Georgia’s capital city is one of the organization’s largest and most popular races. The 2015 event brought out more than 25,000 people and raised $1 million to fund research, education and support for those with breast cancer. This year, the event will be held on October 29 for a non-competitive 5K walk in Atlanta’s landmark Piedmont Park.
Sign up for the Making Strides Against Cancer event of your choice on the American Cancer Society’s website.
Naturally in 2016, you can race virtually! The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s VRace enables you to log miles on your own schedule, and at your own pace. Simply sign up for the campaign, use a fitness tracker to count your miles and fundraise on your own along the way.
There’s an App For That
Charity Miles uses your daily activity levels — anything from walking your dog to a daily morning run — to earn money for the charity of your choice. The app currently has 37 charities to choose from (including Stand Up To Cancer), and they are working to add even more in the near future.