Race for the … Swag?

Note: The above is a registered trademark of Susan Komen Foundation but being used for this BLOG and based on the true experiences of the writer. 
I did the Race for the Cure yet again in Denver.  I have decided that other than for the social and charitable perspective, I tend to enjoy local school and charity races more.  For example, a one-mile fun run/walk in my neighborhood is a lot more rewarding and enjoyable than dealing with the crowds that descend upon Denver for this large-scale event.  Sort of akin to the Bolder Boulder but not as well-managed, the Race for the Cure has taken on a new meaning for me- it’s more about the fellowship and hanging out with your friends for a good reason at 0630 on a Sunday morning than really the running or the “race”.   If you’re an athlete or a runner and looking for a good race to run, this is not it!  It is a self-timed/self-paced 5K or 1-mile family fun walk which starts at 0900.  This is not for those who want to truly “run” because the walkers tend to start even before the runners do – there is no control keeping runners on one side and walkers on another no waves really.  It is hard to run because in your way are strollers, kids, and adults who are truly marching for the cure!
I think it is great cause, and a great time but the hype is a bit overrated.  The finish point is the worst!  That is where the fellowship tends to fall apart as people walk around and grab for swag which they will probably throw away in a few weeks anyway as junk.  This year the fight was over these Black Sports Authority Bags with the pink ribbon on it.  From what I noticed, some women (most of them depression era women or children during the depression) were grabbing upwards of 5-6 bags.  One woman appeared to have 9-10.  I asked her for one since Sports Authority had no control over the bags and were permitting people to take this many, but her reply was, “these are all for people.”  Yeah, right – where are they?  Only one lady voluntarily gave us an extra bag she had when we asked where they got them.  She was the only nice one in the crowd that we met that was willing to part with a bag so that someone else could partake.  I wish I had her name. 
Anyway, other than the one nice lady we met, the entire thing left a foul taste in my mouth for this event.  I do not understand why Komen organizers can’t just take a bag and assemble it ahead of time w/ all the goods so people just grab a bag and go?  Why do I have to wait in a line to spin a wheel to get a plastic bag?  Why do I have to wait in line to get a bandanna?  Shouldn’t the survivors, the people undergoing chemo and radiation get those?  Why not just pre-assemble these environmentally friendly bags and then let the people grab ONE per person as they walk around to booths who want to advertise.  Knowing everything is in one place helps avoid all the grabbing, waiting, and ugliness.
Another thing at the end of the race area which got me thinking was a woman with the sign – the sign said, “it’s been 11 years, where’s the cure?” Good point. Komen Foundation is a big foundation and organization that does this nationwide along with the 3-day races and so on? They are part of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and people donate hours of time and collect thousands in money. So, exactly where is the cure? Is there even a remote possibility of one?
In any case, I was a little disgusted this year not by the underlying reason for the Race for the Cure but with the entire procedure/process and the way the “race” was “run”…. pun intended. It was not run very well at all in fact. Like I said, let’s call this event what it is – a fundraiser with an optional walk if you want to in the crowds. Unlike previous years, I did not find it inspirational or moving but rather it was all about “what you could grab” at the end and who got what. That is not really the purpose behind this. I will not stop believing in a cure and will continue to support the Foundation, overhead and all, but I really do hope these events can become what they initially were intended to be — events for a purpose- for a cure, not fighting over swag or taking more than you what you are entitled.  If anything, these events should be humbling and make people realize that a bag is not that important…. a cure certainly is and all the people who have perished while we seek to find one.

2 thoughts on “Race for the … Swag?

  1. Connie, I know…Even Bolder Boulder is so hard to "run" with all the walkers. They do waves but it is still difficult. I have decided to stick to 2000 people or less events for now 🙂 and will continue to donate $ to charity but without the hassels.

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