Race for the Cure returns

MANCHESTER - Those who attend, or participate in, the Vermont Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this Saturday, Sept. 21, will notice several changes - perhaps none more significant than the date of the race itself.

Typically held near the end of July, the race date was changed for a number of reasons according to co-chairwoman of the Vermont Race for the Cure, Linda Maness.

"We were one of a handful of races still in the summer from the entire national and international series and we were advised that we might want to consider a change of date," said Maness. "Locally the race committee looked at our numbers and our history of heat in July and we were ready for cooler weather. We also thought that later September was a nice lead in to breast cancer awareness month in October."

In an interview on Monday, Maness said that 866 people had registered for this year's race, which is comparable to last year at this time. In the end, the race attracted about 1,400 runners and walkers last year. However, those numbers represented a decline of about 30 percent for the Vermont race - which attracted over 2,207 and brought in more than $270,473 in 2011 - due to the decision announced by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation regarding plans to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and birth control, among other services to women in February of 2012. The Foundation later reversed course, but the damage had already been done.

Although the registration numbers are about the same as this time last year, Maness said she believes that it is a result of moving the race to September as opposed to any lingering backlash from last year's controversy.

"This has been a live and learn process with changing from July to September," said Maness. "Similar from when we changed from a Sunday to a Saturday you're going to lose some people because of the season. July visitors are not September visitors. We are hoping for an influx, but I kind of want to see where we're at and depending on weather you can add 300-400 people on a good registration morning."

Maness said the hope was to have the same number of runners and walkers competing in this year's event. Forty teams have signed up this year - which is slightly down from past years, Maness said. Of those 40 teams - about half of which are new this year - four of them are vying for top fundraiser, which requires them to raise at least $2,000 to be considered.

In a conversation on Wednesday, BBA cross country coach Sandy Birch said she believed that her team BBA Cross Country was going to take the honor as they had raised $5,360 - about $2,000 ahead of everyone else. As of Monday, Maness said $36,468 in donations had been logged online or received in the office.

Birch said the race and the raising of funds was important to her as well as other members of the team - of which there are over 30 members - as they have ties to people who have been affected by breast cancer.

"One of our runners' mother has struggled with breast cancer and is currently dealing with some medical issues related to that. You know, my mom had breast cancer," said Birch whose parents are also part of the team. "But, specifically it kind of got kicked off because one of our really important runners' mother is struggling right now, but it's been a real inspiration to support her in this cause."

Birch continued to say that the outpouring of support in terms of fundraising has been tremendous and that this area of southern Vermont in particular was very gracious when it comes to giving.

Another change that people will notice to this year's race is the inclusion of a 10K race. Maness said that they were hoping to have 100 people compete in the 10K and as of Monday 85 people had signed up.

People interested in participating in the race may also sign up the day of between 7:30-8:45 a.m. for one of the runs, which begin at 9 a.m. and between 7:30-9:45 a.m. to take part in the walk, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Hildene Meadows where the race begins and ends.

People will also have the opportunity to register at the Hildene Meadows on Friday 1-6 p.m. Runners and walkers that pre-registered may also pick up their materials on Friday.

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised from the event go the Vermont/New Hampshire Affiliate for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and 25 percent will be donated to breast cancer research and education.

Follow on Twitter @BrandonCanevari.


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