Thousands Braved Threatening Weather For Komen Run
By Phil Hicks Sports Editor
Neither the gray skies nor the potential inclement weather could dampen the spirits of the approximately 4,700 people who turned out Saturday for the 14th Annual Komen Tyler Race for the CureŽ in Tyler's Azalea District.
Some ran, some walked and some observed, but all showed support for the Komen Foundation in its quest to raise awareness of breast cancer and to eradicate the dreaded disease.
The race, which begins at Bergfeld Park, brings together runners, volunteers and survivors. It is a race that is supported by thousands including many like Margie Cowen, of Swan.
For many years Mrs. Cowen volunteered for the Komen Run and her involvement encouraged her to have checkups.
"The Komen Run made me aware," Mrs. Cowen, 80, said. "The Komen Foundation is always encouraging everyone to get checkups. I never thought I would get cancer, but now I am a survivor (two years) of cancer."
Although it was not breast cancer that attacked Mrs. Cowen she said it was the Komen that made her think about her health.
"In fact I just got a note in the mail to remind it is time for my mammogram," Mrs. Cowen said. "Everyone should get a mammogram."
Mrs. Cowen, along with Phyllis Hedricks, a government teacher at John Tyler High School, loves to volunteer at the race, and their spot the last four years has been on the corner of Chilton Avenue and Hamvassy Lane.
"I love this area because you can see the first wave of runners turning the corner here," Ms. Hedricks said. "I am amazed and inspired about the turnout each year -- the great support and passion everyone has for the Komen Run.
"Also I like the fact that most of the money raised stays right here in East Texas for programs and to help patients."
As for the race itself, a 5K, Kim Wiseman, of Tyler, finished in first place among the survivors for the second straight year.
The Mother Frances Hospital nurse is a 10-year survivor.
"I didn't run as well as last year," said Wiseman, who clocked in with a time of 27 minutes and 37.2 seconds. "It is encouraging so many people came out today despite the potential for bad weather."
Wiseman, who is originally from the San Francisco Bay area, finished ahead of runner-up Christina Gatson, of Emory, (32:04.9) and Nancy Massing, of Tyler (32:34.5).
The Senior Survivor winner (over 60) was Nancy Brown, of Tyler, (54:12.6) and the Masters winner (50-60) was Edei Bergeron (33:26.2).
The overall female winner was Abigail Halbrook, 16, of Tyler, She ran with a time of 20:00.5.
The overall male winner was Clay Emge, 27, of Tyler for the second straight year. He had a time of 16:43.7.
Brookshire's Grocery Company had the top team with 519 entries, followed by Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics (284) and East Texas Medical Center (149). The Tyler Paper won the media contest with 64 entries. KETK was second at 23.
The top T-shirts were from Whataburger and the Henderson County Sheriff's Department.
"We are so grateful to the survivors, the runners, the volunteers and all the supporters," said Jennifer Watkins, executive director for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliate in Tyler.
Many ran for survivors or in memory of someone.
CBS 19's Bryan Houston and TMF's Mike Hines encouraged the runners during the race and Houston served as emcee during the awards ceremony.
Jayme Fitzpatrick and Kristen Eargle were co-chairs of this year's race.
You can still donate and be a part of the Power of Ten when you ask 10 friends for a donation of $10. Deadline is May 31. Go to komentyler.org for more information. The 2011 winner was Josh Nix of Suddenlink.
Since its conception in 1999, the Tyler Affiliate's grants are responsible for providing about 5,500 mammograms and more than $1.2 million in services. Last year's race raised more than $286,000.
The race for the cure began when Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever.
In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the CureŽ and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the CureŽ is the world's largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, according to komentyler.org.
It is the only grassroots organization fighting to cure breast cancer at every stage, from the causes to the cures -- fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Since launching the breast cancer movement more than 25 years ago, Komen has transformed the culture by changing how the world talks about and treats this devastating disease.
Komen is credited with helping to turn millions of breast cancer patients into survivors. The Komen Race Series has grown from one race in Dallas with 800 participants to a global series of more than 120 races with more than 1.5 million people expected to participate.
The race series also has grown internationally with events in Germany, Italy and Puerto Rico. Thanks to events like Komen Race for the CureŽ, nearly $1.5 billion has been raised to fulfill her promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.
The 2014 race is scheduled for May 11. ... The Moore Middle School cheerleaders performed at various places along the race route as well as at the awards ceremony. ...
National series sponsors are American Airlines, Ford, New Balance, Re/Max, Self, Walgreens and Yoplait. ... The local presenting sponsors are the Tyler Morning Telegraph and TylerPaper.com. ... Local affiliate sponsors include the Tyler Fire Fighters, Brookshire's food & pharmacy, Barrett & Thomas, P.C. and TAABS. ... Also, Silver Sponsors: Greenberg Smoked Turkey, Inc., Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, The Genecov Group, The Rogers Foundation and Joyce & Zelick Greenberg Estate. ... Bronze Sponsors: Austin Bank, Blood and Cancer Center of East Texas, Center for Cosmetic Surgery, Delek Refining, East Texas Food Bank, ETMC, E.L.S. Surveying & Mapping, Inc., Exterran, Fitzpatrick Architects, Gilbert's El Charro, Ingersoll Rand, Tyler Hematology Oncology, PA, The Watson W. Wise Foundation, Texas Oncology - Tyler, Tyler's Cardiovascular Consultants, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Urology Tyler, PA and Media Sponsors: KETK 56 News, Tyler Today, CBS 19, BSCENE Magazine, IN Magazine, Fox 51, The Blaze 102.7 & 106.9, 99.3 Talk FM, KNUE 101.5, Hot 107.3, 96X Rocks and Mix 93.1. ... Marathon Sponsors are Bancorp South, Body by Vi, No Hungry Children, Citizen's 1st Bank, McAlister's Deli, Liberty Water, Robert & Nancy Patterson, Southside Bank, Tomi & Jim Ellis, Tyler Beverages and Tyler Radiology Associates and Whataburger. ... Jogger Sponsors include A Woman's Touch, Cathy Shipp & Associates, Gollob Morgan Peddy, PC, Henry & Peters, JP Morgan/Chase Bank, John & Peggy Suggs, Meg Reitmeyer, Re/Max Tyler, Roger & Ellen Peirce, Rosemary & Walter P. Jones III, Skillern's Business Systems, Texas Bank & Trust, Tyler Obstetrics and Gynecology, LLP, Traci Kenner, Terri Rowden and UPS.
Runners begin the 5K race at the Susan G. Komen Tyler Race for the Cure on Saturday at Bergfeld Park in Tyler. (Staff Photos By Sarah A. Miller)