Help fight breast cancer -- and your growing waistline. Training sessions for this fall's three-day, 30-mile LoCo Motion walk-and-run fundraiser start today in Beaufort and Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island.
Led by local health and fitness experts, the free group workouts will be offered Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings to help participants prepare for the Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 event -- a 10-mile-a-day trek through old town Bluffton and the beaches of Hilton Head Island.
While the training is being held in conjunction with the LoCo Motion event, you don't have to be registered for the fundraiser to participate in the free sessions. And you can join up at any time, although organizers suggest the sooner, the better.
"It's hard on the body to jump in with a 10-mile walk," said Hollie Smith, an exercise physiologist at Beaufort Memorial Hospital and one of the LoCo Motion trainers. "You need to build up slowly to give yourself time to adjust to the climate and terrain.
"Walking on beaches and roads is not the same as walking on a treadmill."
LoCo Motion is the newest fundraiser for Carolina Cups, a Lowcountry nonprofit group dedicated to funding breast cancer education, screening, treatment and clinical research. The event is similar to the 60-mile Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk, only the distance has been cut in half and it is open to both walkers and runners.
Money raised from the event will benefit several regional cancer organizations, including Beaufort Memorial Hospital's Keyserling Cancer Center; the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston; Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services; the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.; Northside Hospital in Atlanta; and the American Cancer Society.
"It's not about how fast you go," said Laura Morgan, owner of LoCo Boot Camp and organizer of the LoCo Motion fundraiser. "It's about making the commitment and getting out there."
Morgan came up with the idea for the event after participating in a similar walk in Tampa, Fla., in 2009.
"It was undoubtedly one of the top 10 life-changing events for me," Morgan said. "I wanted others to experience the incredible sense of accomplishment that comes with training for such an event and completing it."
Participants have the choice of walking or running one, two or three of the days. To help improve their chances of finishing all 30 miles, organizers have scheduled the training sessions for the 15 weeks leading up to the event.
"We're setting up multiple training programs to accommodate beginners, intermediate and advanced athletes," said Tim Waz, owner of Palmetto Running Company, host of the Bluffton training sessions. "You'll be working out with people at your same level, so you don't have to be intimidated if you're a total newbie."
Trainers will provide tips on a health and exercise topics, including hydration, footwear and nutrition.
You don't need to register in advance for the training sessions. Just show up wearing loose-fitting clothing, comfortable shoes and a watch to track your progress. A water bottle or hydration system also is recommended.
To learn more about LoCo Motion or to register for the walk/run, go to www.carolinacups.org or call 843-868-1888.