Girlfriends prove that nothing, not even a global pandemic, can stop a bunch of women on a mission.
October 22, 2020
$55,387.74 total funds raised!
Vancouver WA – Breast Cancer didn’t stop during Covid-19, so Why Racing Events was determined to stay the course for the Girlfriends run/walk in 2020. Karissa Schoene, event director for Why Racing Events explains “We started Girlfriends 14 years ago to honor my mom, Joleen Skarberg, who had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and to raise funds for better diagnosis, treatment and hopefully, one day, a cure. I’ve seen my mom and many other women going through Breast Cancer experience challenges, overcome extreme obstacles and demonstrate incredible grit, perseverance and resilience and I’ve also seen way too many women’s lives cut short due to this horrific disease. When faced with the decision of cancelling our event or staying the course in a different way, it was an easy decision. Breast Cancer survivors don’t quit, so we couldn’t either and I’m so glad we didn’t!”
The Girlfriends Half Marathon, 10K & 6K event had 736 athletes from 12 states participate in the event over an 8-day period. Some participated on the actual course that was permitted by the City of Vancouver WA to be marked for a week with motivational and directional signage while others participated from their communities across the country.
Not only was the event a great experience for the participants but it raised a significant amount of funds. Sherri McMillan, owner of Why Racing Events reports “We raised $55,387.74 during a global pandemic! Those funds will be used to help so many local women who are going through breast cancer and need support to pay for basic necessities. I am so proud of our community!”
McMillan continues “We have proved that even though 2020 has been devastating for so many, we can still do a lot of good. The photos being uploaded by our athletes show them sporting their upgraded Girlfriends SWAG while experiencing so much joy, excitement, fun, accomplishment and a sense of belonging and community – something we all need right now!”
The event had 52 survivors participating as well as number of men, called the Pink Brigade Guys, who donned pink tutus and crowns, to run to honor the special women in their lives and raise funds for the two beneficiaries, the Pink Lemonade Project and the Jaime Miller Cancer Compassion Fund.
Schoene adds “Our goal was to bring as much of the live event experience to our athletes as possible. We normally have firemen at the finish line giving finishers their necklaces and medals so instead, we created a video with fire fighters cheering on the girlfriends. We normally enjoy an energetic warmup together at the start so we sent a virtual warmup so girlfriends could warmup on their own with their friends and family. We normally have Joleen come to the stage and thank everyone for participating so instead we hosted an FAQ with mom to talk about her story and the lessons learned. We normally have a strong inspirational song at the start of the event so this year, we had one of our girlfriends Angela Vittori serenade our athletes with a ‘Rise Up” message. We hosted a virtual happy hour and awards ceremony and constantly posted live videos so our girlfriends could feel part of the action, energy and community.”
McMillan encourages “It’s such an important message at any time, but even more so now in 2020. Focus on what you can do versus what you can’t do. Focus on the positive versus the negative. Adapt, persevere, stay the course. I’m so glad we didn’t’ cancel on our girlfriends. A virtual finish line is definitely better than no finish line!”
The Girlfriends Photo Album displays the joy, excitement and sense of accomplishment that athletes experienced. You are forced to smile and feel a lot of hope looking at these photos of athletes, the survivors and the young children in their tutus all pushing forward with the message “Girlfriends Rise Together”.
About Why Racing Events:
Why Racing Events is a multi-sport event management organization that offers athletes of all ages and abilities, from the elite level to the back-of-the-packers, the chance to successfully complete a racing event. They host a series of events every year from March to October, including children’s races, fun runs, half marathons, marathons, duathlons and triathlons. They are committed to providing a positive experience to everyone involved while raising awareness and funds for important community causes. Find out more information about Why Racing Events at www.whyracingevents.com
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