Embattled Komen Canceling Many 3-Day Races

June 5, 2013       Patrick Sullivan      

Half of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure events will be eliminated next year due to what the organization is calling declining participation and “economic uncertainty over the last four years.”

Starting in 2014, Susan G. Komen for the Cure will no longer hold the three-day, 60-mile race in Arizona, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. The race will still be held in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-Saint Paul in 2014.

“We evaluate this event continuously,” said Andrea Rader, a spokesperson for the Dallas, Texas-based Komen. “We looked at the markets that weren’t generating the kind of return that allows us to invest the most in our mission and we decided to withdraw from those markets.” Rader added that the organization hopes to return to these markets at some point.

Revenue for the Komen 3-Day last year fell to $57.5 million, down 32 percent from $84.4 million in 2011, according to the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council’s Run Walk Ride 30 report.

Races in 2013, all but two held between August and November, will not be affected. The Komen 3-Day carries a $2,300 fundraising minimum for participants. “Many participants have reported that enthusiasm for the series remains very high, but it is more difficult for people to donate at levels they had in the past,” according to the statement. The Komen 3-Day saw about 18,000 runners participate across the 14 races last year.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Rader, referring to the event’s fundraising and participation troubles. “The fundraising environment has been challenging over the last few years, and it’s been difficult for some of our participants to do these big events that have a high fundraising requirement. Things have been relatively steady but participation has been declining since about 2009” by about 37 percent, she said.

Komen had a 9 percent decline in overall revenue last year. The organization’s total revenue in fiscal year ending March 2012 was nearly $399 million, according to audited financial statements, down from almost $439 million in 2011. The drop comes after a public dispute with Planned Parenthood Federation of America regarding funding criteria.

“Our (Race for the Cure) series is continuing and none of those races are canceled,” said Rader. “The 3-Day participants are generally vocal and enthusiastic. We won’t be doing anything new (in the remaining seven cities) but I think you’ll see more enthusiasm and energy being put into raising funds. This is a wonderful event. It means a lot to people and I hope they understand that we’re redirecting resources to our mission.”