While most people were still in their warm beds or just getting ready for work, a Pink Army marched through the streets of Corte Madera on Friday just after sunrise.
Roughly 1,200 walkers dressed in pink — some with clown wigs, or tutus, or polka dot leotards — joined the Susan G Komen 3 Day for the Cure, a 60-mile trek that started at The Village shopping center and will continue through San Francisco.
Mill Valley's Cathy Youngling and Patti Williamson, part of team "Are We There Yet?", were among the crowd. This is Youngling's fourth 3-Day walk, while it is the first for Williamson, who was inspired by her friend's battle with breast cancer.
"Every time I get a mammogram, I'm scared. It seems like everyone in Marin gets breast cancer. Is it a Marin thing?" Williamson asked, referring to a recent report about the high rate of breast cancer in Marin County. "I was more scared for Cathy. I didn't personalize it. I was really scared for her."
Walkers and support staff started gathering at 4 a.m. at the shopping center in Corte Madera. By 6 a.m., the party was really getting started, with music to wake up the souls. An emotional speech really drove home the reason everyone joined the fight and sent walkers on their journey with tears and cheers.
The early part of the route took walkers from The Village through Baltimore Park, and back toward Piccolo Pavilion and Piper Park before heading to Mill Valley.
Each walker commits to walk 60 miles over three days and raise a minimum of $2,300. The organization says 75% of all net proceeds from the Susan G Komen 3 Day goes to research to end breast cancer and 25% goes toward education and support.