Race for the Cure turned personal for fitness pro who leads warm-up


Highlights

Organizers expect 5,000 participants in this year’s Komen Race for the Cure in West Palm Beach.

Erika Strimer first ran the Susan G. Komen South Florida Race for the Cure 10 years ago.

It was just something to do, a fun day on the waterfront.

Until her mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer. Then it hit home.

“This is a disease no one’s immune to,” she said. “You could be doing the race that day but the next year you could be affected yourself, or your neighbor could, or your wife.”

Related: West Palm’s best runing paths for a cool weather weekend

Strimer, a fitness professional, will host a warmup workout for race participants Saturday at the Meyer Amphitheatre, as she has for the past two years.

Race organizers are putting a spotlight on her as someone who exemplifies the point that there’s more to the anti-cancer races than a movement identified with the color pink. It’s about taking action, as Strimer is, by hosting the workout to support the race and the health of its participants.

Photos: 2016 Race for the Cure

She stepped up her involvement a half-dozen years ago, when as a fitness trainer she began inviting clients and groups to run together. Last year she brought her mother down from West Virginia to participate in the event’s Survivors’ Walk.

“It was so impactful to my mother, to celebrate the fight she’d won and hold hands with other women who’d been through what she’d been through,” Strimer said.

Organizers are expecting 5,000 participants to the West Palm Beach 5k (approximately 3.1 miles) waterfront and its related events this year. The goal is to raise money and awareness to help cut the country’s 40,000 yearly cancer deaths by half in the next 10 years. Worldwide, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for 25 percent of all cases, according to the World Cancer Report.

The race in West Palm is the 26th, making it the oldest educational fundraiser of its kind in the Southeast United States.

Founded in 1982, Susan G. Komen has raised more than $2 billion for cancer research and community outreach, in 50 countries.

This year’s West Palm Beach events began Jan. 12 with the lighting of the Royal Park Bridge in pink, in a ceremony kicking off two weekends of events to benefit breast cancer programs. The mayors of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach attended.

On Saturday, the race site opens at 6:30 a.m., with registration at Palm Beach Post Centennial Park.

Weather is expected to be cool in the morning with temperatures in the low to mid 50s, perfect for running. Saturday’s high will be in the upper 60s. There is no threat of rain.



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