Komen for the Cure

Memories, celebration mark Race for the Cure

Posted June 8, 2012 1:39 p.m. EDT
Updated June 9, 2012 10:38 p.m. EDT

— Perfect weather greeted thousands of runners and walkers who turned out in downtown Raleigh Saturday morning for the 16th running of the Susan G. Komen NC Triangle Race for the Cure. 

The day started sunny and cool, with temperatures in the 60s when the competitive 5K began at 7 a.m. 

By the time festivities ended at Meredith College, temperatures were warming into the 80s.

About 15,000 people registered to participate in the event and more signed up at the last minute, making it the largest footrace in North Carolina and the biggest annual fundraiser for breast cancer research and screening programs in the state. 

"I'm running in memory of my mother and in celebration of me," said Ruth Peebles.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. I was fortunate that it was Stage 1 cancer and because of a self examination, I caught it early."

Beyond the competitive 5K were events for women only, for casual runners and walkers, a kids' dash and one-mile run. The annual event was once again a morning full of celebration for breast cancer survivors, families and friends of those who have lost the battle. 

"We had a group of about eight people, and we're out here because every single one of us in our group has a family or close friend that's affected by breast cancer," said Laura Smith.

Many teams arrived Saturday decked out in matching T-shirts and wearing their hearts on their sleeves in the form of memorials or salutes to loved ones who have battled the disease. The color pink dominated, as did silly puns that slyly refer to the pseudo-sexual nature of gathering in support of breast health. 

Krystal Barnes, a breast cancer survivor, said the Race for the Cure has become even more meaningful since she was diagnosed a little over a year ago.

"I'm here, a year later, as a survivor, and I'm very happy about it," she said. "Last year, I signed up to walk and it ended up being the day after my final treatment. I had a lot of support from friends and family."

Race City provided breakfast for survivors and goodies, live music and a Zumba warm-up for everyone, and Team WRAL handed out water bottles. Water filling stations ensured racers stayed hydrated while limiting trash from throw-away cups common on race routes. 

Money raised stays local

Participants are expected to raise about $2 million. Of that amount, 75 percent funds North Carolina hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for medically under-served women.

The remaining 25 percent supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Award and Research Grant Program, which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research like that being done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.