When the time for the event comes, sometimes you can plan so much that you forget some of the most important things about participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Namely, how to get your stuff to the event and then back home. As trivial as this may seem, leaving it until the last minute is not a good decision. Just like everything else on the 3-Day this part of your journey also requires planning in advance.
For those of you that are traveling from out of town and staying at one of the 3-Day recommended hotels, getting to the event is probably the easiest for you (of course, this doesn’t take into account the airfare and getting from the airport to the hotel and everything else, but we’re just talking about getting to the event in the morning for now). The reason for this is because you will be able to take the shuttle directly from your hotel to opening ceremonies. This is great and I highly recommend it, even for those of you that have loved ones traveling with you. It is much better to let them sleep in so that they can show up at the cheering stations well rested and happy! Besides, the shuttle gives you the opportunity to meet new walkers as you make your way to opening ceremonies and you don’t have to worry about any long car lines as you wait to get into the event.
Options for those of you that live in the host city are a little different. I’m assuming that you’re not going to stay in one of the 3-Day hotels overnight when you could be staying in your own bed. With that in mind, you have a couple of different options. First requires having someone who either likes you a lot, owes you a favor or both. The first year that I participated in the 3-Day, I had a good friend of mine, Chris Puyear, my mom (and teammate) and I to the event. It required him getting up very early and if I had any other options I would have let Chris sleep in. The second year, my sister (and teammate) had her husband drive us to the event. Her husband is much more of an early person than any of my family so this worked out well.
The third year of the 3-Day, our team of three went in together and got a town car to pick us up and take us there. This was nice because we could all split the cost and none of our friends or family had to wake up extremely early and trudge across town to make sure we could participate in the 3-Day. He even drove us by a fast food place on the way to pick up breakfast!
The last option that is available to you is to drive to the event yourself. I don’t recommend doing this and I’m not sure if you can park at all of the events. The first year, one of my teammates opted to drive herself instead of joining us and ended up having to pay $20 to park and then after the event was over had to go pick up her car there before she could drive the thirty to forty-five minutes home.
Before I wrote that last paragraph I was going to say that there is no wrong way to get to the 3-Day as long as you get there, but I can’t in good faith recommend you driving there. Find an option from one of the others available to you if at all possible before you decide to drive yourself, it will just make your whole experience a lot less stressful.
Before we talk about the event being over and trying to get back to wherever it is you go for the night, I need to mention this. If you plan to stay at the 3-Day hotel AFTER the event and want to take the shuttle you will need to purchase a ticket for the shuttle. If I am not mistaken, you need to purchase this on the first night in camp, but I am hoping one of the readers will correct me if I am wrong. I have been lucky enough to have someone able to pick me up at closing ceremonies for all of the walks.
Speaking of having someone pick you up at closing ceremonies, I cannot recommend enough having someone come to closing ceremonies. There are two reasons for this. First, they really need to see closing ceremonies. It’s an emotional thing and it’s the culmination of all that you have done for the past three days so your loved ones and friends should really think about joining you in it. Second, if you get someone to come to closing ceremonies then they can carry your bag back to the car. If they get there early enough, like my brother in law did last year, then they can even get your back back to their car before you even step out of the holding area. That way you don’t have to stress out or worry about finding your bag at all! If you have family or friends anywhere near the city that you are walking in, definitely get them to come along, if not for you then for them!
Now, if you don’t have friends or family at the event and you aren’t staying at a 3-Day hotel after the event, it’s not the end of the world. The gear and tent crew does an amazing job of getting all the bags out and ready to go in as much order as possible. You will see the sign with the letter of the tent you were assigned and you just have to find your bag in the group of people that shared the same letter, not everyone on the walk. I’m pretty certain that there are taxis that are there to pick people up. I have seen them after the events. However, if you have a team and you are wise enough to plan in advance, it might be a good idea to arrange for a town car or other car service to pick you up so that it is reserved and you know that they will be there for you when everything is over.
Again, the key to any of these things is being prepared and planning ahead. Do that and you’ll do just fine, no matter what kind of ways you choose to get to and from the 3-Day.