Next Komen race to step off in downtown Tyler

Published on Tuesday, 2 September 2014 23:14 - Written by Kelly Gooch,

Tyler’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is changing locations.

The 17th Annual Race for the Cure is scheduled for May 9, 2015 in downtown Tyler. For the past 16 years, the event, which serves as a fundraiser for Komen and raises awareness of breast cancer, took place at Bergfeld Park.

“We are hoping that the change in location will pique the curiosity of past participants that haven’t been racing with us the past few years and bring people out that have never attended the race before,” Komen Tyler’s executive director, Kathryn Martinez, said in an announcement sent Tuesday morning. “We really want to rejuvenate the race and utilize the entire downtown area while engaging all of the businesses that reside downtown. We want people to know that.”

The idea of changing locations came up when Mrs. Martinez became executive director.

She said the race revenue manager for this area talked to her about the race and how things were done in the past. In the end, the decision was made to move the race downtown.

It is not an easy decision to move the race from Bergfeld Park, and changing locations now does not mean the race will never return to the park, Mrs. Martinez said.

But she said race organizers are excited about next year’s race at the new location.

She said they hope to use a lot of space downtown and have already talked to Regions Bank about using their building for the survivor breakfast.

Organizers also plan to make the kid’s dash more appealing, and there could be different stations set up along the route, she said.

“I just think it’ll be a lot of fun because people won’t know what to expect,” she added.

And she said parking at Bergfeld Park on the day of the race has been challenging, so having the parking garage downtown will be a big plus.

Additionally, Mrs. Martinez said, organizers hope people stick around after the race and eat downtown.

One event organizer shared her thoughts about Komen in Tuesday’s announcement.

“Breast cancer has been a part of my life since I can remember. My grandmother, three aunts and my mother were all diagnosed at different times in their lives and they all bravely fought and lost the battle,” Race Chairwoman Misty Jones said. “My mother was awarded a grant from Komen that would help her get the treatment she needed. It is because of this organization that women, like my mother, were given opportunities that can help give hope to future generations.”

This year, 4,200 people participated in the Tyler race, in addition to about 500 other people who attended the event but didn’t participate in the race.

The theme of next year’s Tyler Race for the Cure is “We Live Here. We Race Here. We Save Lives Here.” Mrs. Martinez said she wants to get the word out that money stays here to help people in Smith County.

According to Tuesday’s announcement, 75 percent of the money raised at the event goes to local nonprofit organizations that offer breast health screenings and breast health education to those who are uninsured or underinsured.

The rest goes toward breast cancer research.

Mrs. Martinez encouraged people from Tyler and surrounding areas to come to the race.

More information about the race will be posted in the coming months to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tyler Affiliate Facebook page.