Runners unleash to fight ovarian cancer

More than 2,500 women from across Minnesota and the Midwest are expected to run and walk in the Athleta Unleash the SHE 5K/10K Race Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m., at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

More than 2,500 women are expected to be at the Athleta Unleash the SHE 5K/10K race Saturday, Nov. 16 at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The event began in 2010 and is formerly known as the Diva Dash. Submitted photo

More than 2,500 women are expected to be at the Athleta Unleash the SHE 5K/10K race Saturday, Nov. 16 at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The event began in 2010 and is formerly known as the Diva Dash. Submitted photo

Formerly known as the Diva Dash, the Athleta Unleash the SHE Race is one of the largest and fastest growing women-only races in the state. The race benefits the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance and is organized by Final Stretch, Inc. with title sponsor Athleta.

MOCA is a statewide non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of ovarian cancer and funding research needed to detect the disease early and treat it properly.

Since the event debuted in 2010, it has attracted an ever-growing number of participants interested in supporting MOCA. After last year’s sell-out crowd, Final Stretch made the decision to move the race to the National Sports Center, which allows for more participants and an even more scenic course for walkers and runners.

Five dollars of each registration fee benefits MOCA; runners and walkers have the option to raise even more by starting a fundraising page.

“There is no test for ovarian cancer – which is why it’s so vital that women know the symptoms of the disease,” said Kathleen Gavin, MOCA executive director.

“Our connection to the Athleta Unleash the SHE race means we can educate and impact thousands of women, who can then spread the message to their friends and family.”

New this year, an Athleta Unleash the SHE Expo will take place on the day before the race at the National Sports Center, running from 3-8 p.m. Participants can pick-up their t-shirts and race numbers at that time, and also browse the many vendors taking part in the expo.

The expo will include an Athleta style show featuring ovarian cancer survivors dressed in teal athletic gear, which is the color of ovarian cancer awareness.

Door prizes and giveaways will also be available, and those 21 and older can enjoy the race’s signature cocktail at the expo – a tealtini.

“We’re excited about our updated name and course, although the fun that has always been at the forefront of the Diva Dash will stay the same,” said Mark Bongers, owner of Final Stretch.

“This event has become a premier women’s event in Minnesota, drawing runners and walkers of all abilities to come together to support a good cause while having fun.”

Women can register to walk or run in the Athleta Unleash the SHE race at http://bit.ly/UnleashTheSHE. Early registration runs until Nov. 9 at $40 per race for the timed event; those opting to run or walk untimed can pay $35. After Nov. 9 registration costs increase by an additional $5 per participant.

Participants will receive a long-sleeved, technical cut Unleash the SHE shirt, along with refreshments and a chance to win door prizes.

The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness, providing support to women and families impacted by the disease and funding the research needed to detect ovarian cancer early and treat it properly.

MOCA was founded in 1999. Since then, MOCA has grown to an organization of 1,000 survivors and more than 45,000 supporters with a full range of programs encompassing education, support and research. MOCA has awarded more than $4 million to research projects for ovarian cancer research in Minnesota.

For additional information, go to www.mnovarian.org or call (612) 822-0500.

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