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March 2, 2024

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New name, distance for fundraising marathon

The Columbian
Published:

o What: Girlfriends Run for a Cure, quarter-marathon (6.55 miles) and half-marathon (13.1 miles), Pink Brigade Guys and Kids Mini-Marathon.

o When: 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 12.

o Where: Northwest Personal Training, 1011 Broadway, Vancouver.

o Why: Benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Kearney Breast Center and the Children’s Center.

o Registration: Cost for quarter- and half-marathon races is $80 through Oct. 11. Kids Mini-Marathon is $30. No day-of-race registration. Register online.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Find more stories of courage, treatment and survival in the face of breast cancer at www.columbian.com/news/health/breast-cancer

10 Photos
Runners take part in the 7th annual Girlfriends Half Marathon in 2013.
Girlfriends Run for a Cure Photo Gallery

The annual Girlfriends race in downtown Vancouver has a new name and a new addition, but it still has the same goal in its eighth year as it did in its first: Raise money for breast cancer research.

Women of all ages and athletic abilities will lace up their running shoes for the Girlfriends Run for a Cure, hosted by Northwest Personal Training, on Oct. 12. The event will include a half-marathon, Kids Mini-Marathon, the Pink Brigade Guys and — new this year — a quarter-marathon (6.55 miles).

The new race distance was added to give more people the opportunity to participate, said Sherri McMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training.

“There’s a lot of people that wanted to participate in the event but a half-marathon was a little bit much for them,” McMillan said. The shorter distance, she said, may appeal to those people.

The new addition — and aspirations of adding even more in the future — prompted organizers to give the event a new name: Girlfriends Run for a Cure, rather than the Girlfriends Half Marathon, McMillan said.

In the past seven years, the 13.1-mile main event and its companion events have raised more than $300,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and two local organizations.

The event began after Vancouver resident Joleen Skarberg was diagnosed with breast cancer. McMillan launched the Girlfriends Half Marathon to honor and support her client.

More than 400 people signed up for the inaugural event. In the years that followed, the event’s popularity grew and races continued to sell out. Now in its eighth year, organizers cap the event at 3,000 women.

o What: Girlfriends Run for a Cure, quarter-marathon (6.55 miles) and half-marathon (13.1 miles), Pink Brigade Guys and Kids Mini-Marathon.

o When: 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 12.

o Where: Northwest Personal Training, 1011 Broadway, Vancouver.

o Why: Benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Kearney Breast Center and the Children's Center.

o Registration: Cost for quarter- and half-marathon races is $80 through Oct. 11. Kids Mini-Marathon is $30. No day-of-race registration. Register online.

The event is targeted at women in more ways than just the name.

As runners and walkers cross the finish line, they’re rewarded with chocolate and necklaces. They get girly T-shirts and can enjoy other perks, like massages. Firemen will be at the finish line congratulating participants as they cross the finish line.

“We really try to cater to women,” McMillan said.

Some men may participate — at a cost.

A maximum of 50 men are allowed to join the girlfriends fun if they raise at least $500 each, either by donating the money themselves, collecting money from friends and family or getting a company to sponsor them. Money raised by the Pink Brigade Guys is donated to the Kearney Breast Center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

The Pink Brigade Guys can either run or walk one of the races with the women or participate in the event in another way. Some brigade guys serve as lead bicyclists. Others have VIP volunteer positions, such as handing out necklaces to finishers.

This year the event will also feature, for the third year, the Kids Mini-Marathon. In that event, kids run 12 miles on their own in the weeks leading up to the Girlfriends Run for a Cure. Then, on race day, they’ll run the final 1.1 miles of the course together and receive a medal once they cross the finish line.

All of the money raised from the Kids Mini-Marathon goes to the Children’s Center, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to children and families in Clark County.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Find more stories of courage, treatment and survival in the face of breast cancer at www.columbian.com/news/health/breast-cancer

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