LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Start stretching and grab your tennis shoes because the 11th annual Spirit of Survival is next Sunday. The race raises money for cancer research and helps with clinical trials right here in Southwest Oklahoma.
Race director Lori Cummins says when the race started 11 years ago, just over three hundred people participated. Since then, those numbers have risen drastically. They anticipate more than four thousand people will participate this year.
"So it is a big fun race experience but the most important thing about is that it benefits our local community and those that we serve here in our community all of the money that we raise from this event goes toward cancer research that's taking place at the cancer centers here in Lawton, and also for patients in Duncan and Altus," said Cummins.
Cancer patients make up a small group of the 4 thousand people who walk or run in the events but Cummins says knowing what they're going through and seeing them out there participating and showing their resolve to complete their event while supporting the cause is moving.
Cummins says going out there and showing your support will not only impact the patient or survivor but it will also impact you.
"You will see a lot of people there who are persevering through treatment themselves and they are there to finish the race to make a point that they're not going to allow cancer to beat them and it's just a very emotional experience...you walk away feeling really good about making a difference and supporting people who really need support as they're going through the toughest battles of their lives," Cummins said.
If you're participating in the event or just coming to watch, Cummins says you need to arrive with plenty of time to spare because, with so many people attending, the walk from the parking lot can be up to a half-mile away.
"We anticipate 15 to 20 thousand people come so as you can imagine that's a lot of cars that are parking over there so plan to come early. You can park at the museum of the great plains you can park at LHS but it does get full. We do have people who come in and don't anticipate that and they're late for their race. So come early, stay late and just have a really great time," said Cummins.
Everyone is invited to gather the night before the race and carb-up with a $10 pasta dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn on Friday night from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. There will be a speaker who will talk about the course, race preparation and how to get the most out of the event.
You can pick up your packets or register in person starting on Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn from 12 Noon to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Registration for the Sunday morning events ends on Saturday, but you can register on race day for the afternoon events from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Elmer Thomas Park. For any other information, just go to SpiritofSurvival.com.