SAINT PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the end of an era for an annual walk in the Twin Cities.

The Susan G. Komen Three-Day Walk came to a close for the final time at the State Capitol in St. Paul Sunday. Walkers celebrated their 60-mile accomplishment. But this event means more than just taking steps forward.

People have spent the past three days walking 60 miles, ending at the Capitol. The question likely on most people’s minds is, “Why?”

If at any point you need some inspiration, find your closest race or walk. Stick around long enough to justify the distance– and the way people are conquering it.

“Sixty miles is nothing. It really isn’t,” participant Kathy Heins said. “I mean, a lot of people are giving me a hard time because I’m walking in a boot. Is it easy? No. Would I recommend it to anybody? Absolutely not. It’s insane. But at the end of the day, there are people out here who are really in the midst of a fight for their life.”

The fight has affected just about all of the 400 or so walkers personally. But today, it’s also a celebration of victories often taken for granted.

“Every aspect of it is just absolutely awesome,” Heins said. “The crew– the crew is crazy amazing. They’re fun. They’re here to cheer you on. At the right moment they’re there.”

Kathy Cooper has been there, volunteering, for 15 years.

“I had a second chance in life, really, so I feel like it’s important to me to give back to other people,” Cooper said.

Because you don’t have to look far to see people who didn’t get that chance, like Martha Shinar. Her husband John joined the Three-Day shortly after she passed away. He’s walked every year since.

“The real truth of the matter is that for these three days, they help bring my wife back to me,” John said. “And so that’s why I continue to do it.”

…Right through the finish line– which, today, is bittersweet. Declining registration made the foundation cut from seven cities down to four. It’s the last time the Three-Day plans to come to Minnesota. It’s justified with everything they’ve done in the 15 years since.

“I can’t put words to it because you just, you know, you’ve done something that’s so much bigger than you,” Heins said. “It’s a little part, but it’s so much bigger.”

Christiane Cordero

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