The Coast News Group
Physical therapist Nataly Pluta (far right) leads the group in stretches as they prepare for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer awareness walk. Photo by Promise Yee
Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News

Walkers train for Susan G. Komen 3-Day

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — The parking lot in front of the New Balance store on Newcastle Avenue was a sea of pink windbreakers, pink baseball caps and pink T-shirts July 28. 

Walkers met up at the kickoff training session for the 60-mile Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer awareness walk.

The fundraiser walk from Del Mar to San Diego will be held in November. To complete the 60 miles within three days, walkers need to keep a pace of about 3.5 miles an hour.

The walk is geared to include participants of all fitness levels.

The pre-walk training session began with stretches and walking tips.

Channel 8 weatherman Matt Baylow was there with members of his 3-Day team Sacks for Racks. He told walkers the day’s forecast was early morning light fog that would clear by the end of the 6-mile training walk. Baylow keeps a weather blog on the San Diego training page.

Channel 8 news anchor Barbara-Lee Edwards gave her tips on personal training that included walking a hilly course every day.

After stretching and brief instructions were given, the group took off at a steady pace for Fletcher Cove.

Training sessions are held weekly throughout San Diego County. Walkers are coached on how to increase miles gradually and keep up their fitness between training sessions.

“Everyone knows how to walk,” Nataly Pluta, physical therapist and volunteer on the 3-Day walk medical crew, said. “It’s different walking 20 miles.”

In addition to building endurance for the walk, participants also need to raise $2,300. Funds raised support breast cancer research.

Most participants have a deep personal connection with the cause.

Walk training leader Geri Wales said she has walked six years for her sister and four years for her aunt. Both are in recovery. She added that she has seen medical advancements firsthand that have improved treatments for her sister and aunt and hopes that her fundraising has helped.

Pluta also has a strong connection to the event. She signed up for her first walk 10 years ago. Between the time she signed up and the walk began, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, completed chemotherapy and took part in the walk.

“It was six weeks after the mastectomy,” Pluta said. “I was a little tired, flat chested, but I committed to the walk and did it. It was life changing.”

Pluta said she signed up as an individual walker the first year, but never felt alone while she walked. She added the camaraderie, conversations and singing during the walk were uplifting and unifying.

“The event is full of so much fun and community support you forget your aches and pains,” Pluta said.

Laura Farmer Sherman, executive director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, San Diego, also spoke of the spirit of camaraderie on the walk.

“You’ll share your stories, troubles, fears and happiness,” Farmer Sherman said. “Get your pink on. It’s a long conversation.”

For more information, visit