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Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure set for Saturday





Downtown will be flooded with pink May 11 as more than 1,300 runners gather for the first Susan G. Komen Mid-Kansas Race for the Cure in Hays.

An annual race has been in Wichita for more than 20 years, but organizers saw a need to launch a second event geared toward rural western Kansas, said Lindsay Smith, executive director of the Wichita-based Mid-Kansas chapter of Susan G. Komen.

"We cover 95 counties in the state of Kansas; that's why we thought it would be a great idea to do a second race," Smith said. "When we were looking around at where to have it, Hays seemed like a perfect place."

The event is intended to raise funds for breast cancer research and local programs, but also to raise awareness about the disease. About 75 percent of the money raised will stay in western Kansas to benefit community programs, such as Hays Medical Center's Breast Care Center, she said.

A 5K run/walk will begin at 7:45 a.m. at Hays Municipal Park. Pre-registration is available online at www.komenmidks.org or at Koerner Chiropractic in Hays. Runners also can sign up the day of the event; registration opens at 6:45 a.m. Participants can sign up in teams or as individual runners.

Other events include a survivor breakfast at 7 a.m. and a Kids for the Cure 50 Yard Dash. Other children's activities will be available, and a family fun walk will begin at 9:15 a.m.

A bike, tricycle and wagon decorating contest is slated for 9:45 a.m., and an awards ceremony and survivor celebration will be at 10 a.m.

"It's really a day of celebration of survivors," Smith said. "That's why we're doing what we're doing is to create more survivors."

Organizers had hoped to have 1,000 people sign up for the event; more than 1,300 had registered as of Friday, said Nancy Harman of Hays, who is co-chair of the local planning committee.

"It seems to be growing every day, so we are excited," Harman said. "This gives an opportunity for those people who live in the western part of the state to get a hands-on participation. We are just thrilled."

Participants are coming from throughout the state, and even some from out-of-state, she said. The race will become an annual event, and organizers intend to keep it in Hays.

Planning for the race has been in the works for nearly a year. Many area businesses and volunteers have offered support for the event.

"We are grateful for all the people who have embraced this project, supported it, stepped up and given of their time and financial support and encouragement," Harman said. "It was a huge undertaking, and at this point I see it will be such a wonderful, glorious success. I'm proud to be part of it."