Komen: See you in September

MANCHESTER - Those people who plan to participate in this year's Race for the Cure will notice a couple changes.

Not only has the date of the race been changed from late July to Sept. 21, but a 10K has also been added to 5K run/walk that is held every year.

The date was changed this year in an effort to increase registration, which has declined over the past six or seven years, according to President for the VT-NH affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Becky Burke.

"We've been doing research for a long time trying to figure out how to get our numbers back to where they were six or seven years ago," said Burke. "One of the other reasons [we switched the date] is that schools would be in session and we hope that some of the students in schools will form teams and volunteer."

Burke also said the race might not be getting as many participants as possible because the last two weeks of July is time when some people choose to go on vacation.

The Race for the Cure took a significant hit in the number of participants last year after Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced last February that they would no longer award grant money to Planned Parenthood programs.

The Komen Foundation made the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood because the family planning service was under federal investigation for allegedly using public funds to provide abortions.

After coming under fire for taking that stance, The Komen Foundation reversed its decision, but the damage was done. The foundation's VT-NH Affiliate saw a decline of more than 600 people participating in last year's race. The 2012 event raised $185,046 for the local affiliate, but that was still about $85,000 less than the previous year, according to previous reports.

The idea to change the timing of the event has been under discussion for a couple of years, according to co-chairwoman of the event Carri Rubinstein. When examining potential dates, Rubinstein said they had to work around several other events taking place in September, such as the Peru Fair.

"The 21st was a weekend that was available and we also needed to be sensitive to the Jewish holiday," said Rubinstein.

The race will be held about two weeks after the Maple Leaf Half Marathon - which also has a 5K as part of their event. What impact there will be on either of the races registration due to their close proximity remains to be seen, but Dave Pardo - an organizer of the Maple Leaf Half Marathon - indicated there is some concern that it may affect their numbers in the future.

"I wish them all the success in the world, but I wish they had kept the original date," Pardo said. "The 5K is what we [are] most concerned about. Will people want to run two 5Ks in two weeks? We'll have to wait and see. We just hope the local people will continue to support the local event (The Maple Leaf Half Marathon)."

Both Burke and Rubinstein, however, do not feel as though the close proximity of the two events will have any impact on the registration numbers for either race.

"I think we're two very different events. I don't see it hurting either of us either way," said Burke.

The 10K was added to the event this year following requests for it by some "serious runners," Rubinstein said. So far though the course for the 10K has not been mapped out.

"We have to have US Track and Field sanction our race. So we will go through a measurement process," said Burke. "[We] won't work on that until the weather gets better, [which will be] in the spring sometime."

The race is also significant this year in that it is probably the last year that it will be held at the Hildene Meadows, where it has taken place since 1993.

"I think this will probably be the last year," said Executive Director of Hildene, Seth Bongartz. "We've worked for the past few years to transition it to Riley Rink."

Burke also said she believed this might be the last year, but that a decision would not be made until after the race.


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