Susan G. Komen Memorial Promise Run & Relay logo. Image provided by Gina Morss-Fischer, marketing and development director of the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate.
PEORIA — Every year, thousands of people from all over the world participate in the Race for the Cure 5K run/fitness walk, organized by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.
The Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate, based in Peoria, has organized a new fundraising and awareness event called the Promise Run & Relay that they hope is equally as successful as the non-profit organization’s Race for the Cure event, the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world.
“The Promise Run & Relay is part of the strategic plan of the Komen Memorial Affiliate,” said Gina Morss-Fischer, marketing and development director of the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate. “Our affiliate’s regional expansion three years ago from a 10-county service area to a 36-county service area requires a greater amount of fundraising and awareness activities. This event allows us to expand our reach and potentially save many more lives.”
The inaugural Susan G. Komen Memorial Promise Run & Relay will take place October 20, and include a half marathon and a two-person relay that will start in downtown Peoria near the Peoria Civic Center.
“Participants can register as an individual and run the half marathon (13.1 miles) or as part of a 2-person team (each running 6.5 miles),” said Morss-Fischer. “We’re also developing some other activities aimed at getting seniors, kids and (breast cancer) survivors involved. All participants can attend an expo the day before the race and an after-race celebration. We’re also working on other events and activities throughout the weekend that will appeal to all ages and all ability levels, including entertainment.”
The 13.1-mile course of the half marathon and two-person relay will travel through many of the historic, scenic and notable features of the Peoria river valley.
“The half marathon will kick off in downtown Peoria near the Peoria Civic Center,” said Morss-Fischer. “Runners will make their way across the Bob Michel Bridge, through the new East Peoria Levy District, back across the bridge, and past the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Promise Run & Relay participants will then head up Main Street, past the University of Illinois College of Medicine, onto historic High Street and Moss Avenue, before running through the Bradley University campus, down University Street, across the I-74 overpass, beside the U.S. Ag Lab, to Parkview Cemetery and the Susan G. Komen Memorial Site.
“Relay participants will make their exchange near Suzy’s memorial. The second half of the race will take runners back across the I-74 overpass, down Main Street to Monroe, to Glen Oak Park, back toward downtown, along the Riverfront into the Warehouse District, and back to the Peoria Civic Center and the finish line.”
The Promise Run & Relay is physically more difficult than the Race for the Cure 5K race, said Morss-Fischer.
“Race for the Cure is a 5K that takes place at Metro Centre and nearby neighborhoods, as compared to the 13.1-mile course of the Promise Run & Relay that takes place in downtown Peoria, East Peoria and the river bluff,” said Morss-Fischer. “One of the key differences is this is a greater physical challenge, requiring more preparation. We hope to appeal to the more avid runners locally and regionally, as well as those who want to really get fit.”
The Susan G. Komen Memorial expects between 2,500-4,500 people to participate in the inaugural event.
“We expect to draw participants from throughout the Midwest,” said Morss-Fischer.
All participants will receive a Promise Run & Relay dri-fit shirt, a medal and other giveaways.
Early bird registration for the event is available at www.komenmemorial.org. Registration for the half marathon is $60 until July 1. Regular registration is $70. Late registration is $80. Two-person relay registration is $35 per participant until July 1. After July 1, two-person relay registration is $40 per participant. Late registration for the two-person relay is $45 per person.
Susan Goodman Komen and her little sister Nancy Goodman Brinker grew up in Peoria, Illinois. At the age of 33, Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977. Susan fought a three-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer before succumbing to the disease in August of 1980 at the age of 36. She is buried at Parkview Cemetery in Peoria. Her resting place is a State Historic Site.
Before Susan died, Nancy promised her sister that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, Nancy launched a global breast cancer movement when she started the Susan G. Komen for the Cure non-profit organization. Today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer awareness activists who are fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and fund research to find the cures.
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has more than 100 affiliates, including the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate that is based in Suzy’s hometown of Peoria. Susan G. Komen for the Cure events, such as the Race for the Cure, have raised more than $1.9 billion in funds that were dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.