Running for a cause, racing for the cure

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Readers: This story was edited at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 12 to correct the opening time of the grounds at Riley Rink at Hunter Park to 7 a.m. and clarify the difference between  Susan G. Komen and Komen New England.

MANCHESTER — As Susan G. Komen New England readies for its 26th Vermont Race for the Cure next Saturday in and around Manchester's Riley Rink at Hunter Park, Linda Maness looks forward to the day when her job organizing two road races, a kids' obstacle course and a fun-filled festival, all raising money for breast cancer research and assistance to those fighting the disease, becomes unnecessary.

Not because she doesn't enjoy it, but because that will mean a cure for the disease has been found.

"Unfortunately, we're still in the business of having to put on a race," she said Tuesday. "I would like to be put out of business."

In the meantime, Maness, the Vermont development coordinator -- special events director for Komen New England, along with a small army of volunteers, is encouraging residents to participate, watch and celebrate the those who have fought breast cancer, and support and encourage those still in the fight. "It's a day to celebrate life," she said.

"Everyone knows somebody who has been affected by breast cancer. You just might not know it," she said. "So I encourage everybody to come walk, come run, and bring the kids!"

Much of the event is the same as it has been for the past quarter-century: There's races of 5 and 10 kilometers, an obstacle course for the kids, food, drinks, free giveaways and a silent auction — all to benefit Komen New England's local efforts and Susan G. Komen's national goal of reducing breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.

What's new are parking and check-in changes designed to make the process easier, giving participants more time to relax and enjoy the event.

For starters, the Friday afternoon pre-race check-in begins at 3 p.m. and turns into a pick up party at 5 p.m.,  with food and refreshments until 7:30 p.m.

Saturday morning, racers are invited to show up early, ahead of the first race at 8:30 a.m., and use Pig Pen Road — the rustic entrance route connecting Route 30 and Hunter Park — to ease traffic and parking. The grounds and registration open at 7 a.m., and for those who arrive early,  there will be fresh fruit awaiting them ahead of the race.

One of the 10K race sponsors, XPO Express of Cheshire, Conn., is donating use of its paperless pre-race registration system that simplifies checking in or registering on race day. For example, if you're competing as a family or a group, the entire team can get a confirmation slip at once and proceed to pick up bibs and T-shirts.

Where will the money go? Maness said 75 percent of the net proceeds will go to service organizations assisting those facing a breast cancer diagnosis, and to grantees providing awareness, education and breast cancer screening. The remaining 25 percent goes to Komen's national grant program funding research. "We still need vital research to put an end to breast cancer," Maness said.

Also on Saturday, The Komen Vermont Race for the Cure will honor volunteers who represent Susan G. Komen's four pillars: Research, care, community and action.

Lori van Dam, Komen New England CEO, who will be at the Vermont race, said: "Up to one-third of women who are currently dying could be saved without any new medical breakthroughs. The programs we fund help overcome barriers to screening and treatment so all our neighbors have the same opportunities to access the care they need."

"We invite runners and walkers of all ages to participate in the this local fundraising event for breast cancer. Net proceeds raised through the Race for the Cure stay in our community to fund a variety of programs, including screenings, diagnosis and treatment services and patient navigation," van Dam added. "They also support our national research priorities, including new early detection technologies and treatments for metastatic breast cancer."

The Komen Vermont Race for the Cure is sponsored by gold sponsors Bromley Mountain, WCAX-TV, Monadnock Radio Group and XPO Express; silver sponsors WEQX-FM, Keyser Energy, Motel in the Meadow of Chester, Women and Child Services of Southern Vermont and Brattleboro Radio Group; and bronze-level sponsors Catamount Radio Group, Hardpack of East Dorset, Manchester Newspapers, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, The Works, Orvis, Vermont.com, Yipes! Auto and Graphics, McWayne Jewelers and Northshire Civic Center.


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