Walk of Life Volunteers & Runners Prepare for 5k, Honor Boston Marathon


By Heather VacLav

This weekend runners will be lacing up their shoes for the first time since the Boston Marathon, and about four thousand of them will be running in the Walk of Life Saturday.

In wake of the blasts, the Joy to Life Foundation is taking extra safety precautions for it's annual 5-K. More than 430 volunteers are setting up for the Walk of Life and they say nothing will hurt their spirit to fight breast cancer, not Friday morning's downpour and certainly not the Boston bombings.

"It will forever change how I run, I will be always thinking about those people who were just cheering their friends on, their family running," said Kerry Digioia.

Like so many other runners, Digioia, a 35-year old breast cancer survivor, says she will be thinking about those effected by the Boston Marathon Bombings. Digioia says the long lines for late registration at the Train Shed show the blasts aren't keeping people away fighting breast cancer at the Walk of Life.

"I think you're going to have people coming out regardless of what happened on Monday, they are going to be coming out in mass amounts to support this even," Digioia said.

In addition to having extra police at the race, the Walk of Life is giving out special Boston commemorative stickers for Walk participants to wear on their left sleeve.

"I think [runners] are just showing more support than ever and banding together," said Peggy Turner, the director of the race. "It's kind of like this is not going to happen here, and we are not going to let this just put us down."

Turner also said despite the cold, windy and wet weather Friday, the forecast for Saturday is clear and everything is on schedule

"[Volunteers] were prepared in their raincoats, and even in this train shed it was a little damp, but as you can see they are in their places with smiles on their faces and they are ready to go," Turner said.

One of those smiles was on the face of Tiffani Powell, the 33-year old just entered remission after having a double mastectomy and chemotherapy when diagnosed last year. This is her first year volunteering for the Walk of Life and she says it feels like one big family.
"I have just actually got the confidence to stop wearing something over my head, a scarf or something, because I still don't feel like [my hair] is back to where it should be," Powell said.

"But here, they make me feel beautiful."


Late Friday afternoon, the rain faded and sun came out for volunteers, vendors and sponsors to finish setting up for Saturday's festivities.

Anyone interested in late registration can still time sign up Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. at the Train Shed.

The Walk of Life kicks off at 8:30 a.m. and there will be activities for the whole family and food vendors across the Riverfront.

Alabama News Network weekend anchor Heather VacLav will also be volunteering at the Walk of Life and emceeing the race at the riverfront.


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