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Walking for a great cause

avon-mental-notes

Marne Saunders is a woman in motion...she balances a full-time job at Reebok with an active lifestyle as a wife and mom of two young boys. Adding to the mix? A healthy menu of workouts-CrossFit classes, hiking, running —and one event that’s very close to her heart: The 39-mile, two-day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Walking as a member of Team Reebok since 2008, Marne’s responsible for collecting $16,000 in donations of the $220,000 total her team has raised since its formation six years ago.

Here’s a look at the Walk from an insider’s perspective...

MBS: How did you become involved in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer?

I first became involved when a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I decided to raise money and walk the Boston Walk in 2008. Ironically, at the same time, I began a new position at Reebok that put me front and center of activating Reebok’s National Sponsorship of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s been great to not only support the cause personally, but also professionally.

MBS: In how many Walks have you participated?

I’ve completed four Walks, all in Boston. Next year, I plan to do the Rocky Mountains Walk! I hear the scenery is amazing. Of the nine cities that host the event, each one has its own personality. The New York Walk is the biggest, some say the most energetic. The Santa Barbara Walk has a Hollywood vibe—you’ll see participants like Reese Witherspoon, Fergie and Josh Duhamel. Suze Orman spoke at the closing ceremony of the Boston Walk last year. There are also walks in Charlotte, Houston, Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco.

MBS: 39 miles! Do you walk the full distance?

Absolutely. Go Big or Go Home, right?

MBS: How do you prepare for the Walks?

I do long weekend walks with members from Team Reebok, we go anywhere from 5—15 miles. Walking itself isn’t difficult but walking for hours is. Of course I have proper Reebok walking shoes!

MBS: Any shoe advice?

Don’t do the Walk in brand-new shoes! I start wearing mine about six weeks before the walk, and I rotate two pairs…I wear one pair on Day One, the other on Day Two. Good socks are important, too. They should have wicking material, with cushioning in the heel and forefoot.

MBS: What is your favorite memory from one of the Walks?

There are many great memories, each year has its own great moments, but it’s the constants that make it so special: From the opening ceremony where thousands of participants all join hands united against a single goal, to the energetic Youth Crew that cheers on the walkers over all 39 miles, and even the “Cow Man.” (Ask any walker—they can tell you exactly who he is! He shows up at all nine Walks to support the cause.) And then of course, the best feeling is crossing the finish line to the cheers of enthusiastic supporters. It’s truly an amazing and inspiring experience from start to finish.

MBS: What relationships have you formed by doing The Walk?

I’ve made many new friends through the Walks, as well as good new friends at The Avon Foundation for Women. Everyone is so supportive, energetic and passionate… and they’re all dedicated to the singular cause of eradicating breast cancer.

MBS: How is Reebok involved in the Walks?

Reebok is going on its 6th year as National Sponsor of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. We donate up to $750,000 to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade through our pink ribbon product sales. The money we donate helps to support access to care and to help find a cure for breast cancer. We also play host to the Boston Walkers as they camp out on our campus in Canton, MA before starting the final day of the Walk. The hundreds of pink tents spread across our fields is a sight I’m proud to see.

MBS: How can others become involved?

There are many great ways to get involved. You can walk, you can volunteer at an Avon Walk event in your area, you can donate to someone you know that is walking, or you can just come out and cheer them on. Each walker must raise $1,800, so donations are always welcome. You can find more information on how to get involved at www.avonwalk.org. You can also support the cause by purchasing any Reebok Pink Ribbon product—find the collection at www.reebok.com/avon.

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