In order to participate in a 3-Day For the Cure, one must raise minimum $2,300. Some may balk at this number. However, having seen what a tremendous undertaking the 60-mile walk is, I am not at all surprised that the bar is set as high as it is.
14 3-Day events take place in various cities in the United States through the course of the year. I suspect preparation for each one begins as soon as the registration is announced. Just as we have wrapped up the 2011 Atlanta walk, the organizers, I am quite certain, are already starting to lay out the plans for 2012.
The route has to be identified, and permits obtained from the city to walk 2,500 - 4,000 people through each neighborhood the route passes through. Signage is extensive and also requires permits. There are directional signs (like path flags along a hiking trail), motivational signs, cautionary signs (warning walkers of places with no sidewalk, uneven surface, etc.) and heads-up signs for pit stops.
Separate set of permits and agreements must be obtained for the pit stop sites, as all of them offer port-a-potties, food, beverages and medical assistance. Consider the fact that many cities and states have some very wacky laws about distributing food and medicine outside of restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacies, and yet more weird laws about doing any sort of activities on a Sunday, and you can see how this can get complicated very quickly.
Having had truly gut-wrenching experiences with bad weather and emergency camp relocation in the past, organizers in some cities are now opting to have indoor camps. That requires a building. A very large building. With lots of room for luggage, tents, a spot for shower trailers, a place for dinner hall, as well as an area to put promotional, medical and merchandise booths. Besides, there needs to be someplace where the walkers can stretch and line up in preparation for a day's march.
Speaking of which, Bank of America may be the spawn of hell in the news, but it made a huge difference as one of the three primary sponsors of the Atlanta 3-Day For the Cure event. Not only did this big evil corporation cover much of the cost of food and drinks for the pit stops, it also set up an internet cafe - complete with top-of-the-line laptops the walkers could use to post photos and connect with their loved ones during the walk. In addition, B of A provided - miracle of miracles! - a massage lounge with about a dozen massage chairs with leg cushions to soothe all manner of pains and aches for the exhausted walkers. That last one was really popular - there was always a line, for which chairs were thoughtfully provided so that people didn't have to stand while they waited.
Once a walker is at camp, everything is free, except for the merchandise at the Shop 3-Day store. The crew servicing the camp and the route largely consists of volunteers. But there still needs to be enough money to pay for the meals (hot breakfasts and dinners at camp, sandwich lunches on the trail), the tents and the seating fir several thousand people. Then there are other odds and ends: from the banners and decorations at camp and around the city to the pink command center trailer which is kind of like a small Pentagon on wheels.
Add up all this and consider that the event still has to make profit to contribute to the primary cause - breast cancer research - and suddenly $2,300 per person doesn't seem all that much at all. The amount breaks down to roughly $6.30 per day for a year. Some people spend more on Starbucks. If you are considering participating in a 3-Day event, consider how many friends you have who would be willing to give up coffee for a couple of days and help you raise the money instead.