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BALTIMORE - The Komen Maryland Race for the Cure will take place over just a few hours on Oct. 20 in Hunt Valley.
But, the planning and coordination to ensure the race and surrounding festivities goes off without a hitch takes much longer than that.
"We started planning for this year's Race for the Cure the day after last year's race ended," said Kim Marzullo, Komen Maryland's Race and Development Manager said. "We evaluate what went right, ways we can improve and work hard to make the next race even better than the last one."
Marzullo said preparation for the 21
st annual Race for the Cure, is a huge undertaking that requires teamwork, preparation and an extensive organizational effort by a team of workers, volunteers and others. In all, about 1,000 volunteers work with organizers over the course of a year to help get ready for the race, which officials said is expected to include 23,000 runners.
Making sure that all the runners are in place on race day is just one of many tasks organizers face. Marzullo said there is a laundry list of responsibilities required to complete when organizing such a large-scale event.
For example, Marzullo said, organizers need to make sure all of the supplies are on hand, including more than 25,000 bottles of water, 10,000 bananas and 20,000 bagels. Then, organizers also need to ensure there are enough portable bathrooms, medical supplies and awards are ordered.
"This is not a one-person undertaking," Marzullo said. "There are so many people that are working together all with the same goal in mind: to make the Race for the Cure an amazing event and help raise as much money as possible for breast cancer research and related programs."
Also of concern, Marzullo said, is coordinating with various county and state agencies to work out logistics ranging from traffic, to road closures to public transportation. Then there are those responsible for monitoring the weather for any events that could impact the day's events.
"We have people who specialize in every aspect of the race's preparation," Marzullo said. "They key is positive communication. While everyone is doing their own jobs, they need to keep everyone in the loop to make sure every task gets accomplished."
Another issue that race organizers take very seriously is safety and security. This issue has only become magnified this year following the tragic bombing this past spring at the Boston Marathon. Marzullo said safety is a top concern of race officials and every step is being taken to address those concerns.
"We are constantly examining every possible scenario, including those that have happened in the past and ones that could occur in the future," Marzullo said. "We have medical tents in place, are in constant communication with police, fire and transportation officials and doing all we can to make sure everyone at the race – from the runners to the spectators to the workers and volunteers – are all safe."