DALLAS — More than 14,000 runners and walkers participated in the Rock 'n' Roll Dallas 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, but before sprinting away, a celebration close to the starting line kicked off.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure team that included up to 100 people has raised thousands of dollars as the non-profit partners with the race every year.
Stephanie Turner signed up for the challenge. "I'm running in honor of my grandmother," she said.
Every person on the team aimed to bring in at least $1,000 in donations for Dallas-based Komen, which funds breast cancer research and education.
But some runners hit a couple of hurdles along the way. One of them: The financing fight between Komen and Planned Parenthood, which led to a loss of supporters on both sides of the issue.
Komen first elected to withdraw funding for breast cancer screening from Planned Parenthood. It then restored that funding in the wake of a backlash.
"Some of my more religious friends had a little bit of difficulty trying to decide whether to donate because of that," Turner said.
Fundraising also became an issue for runner Dana McLaughlin. "I had several of my donors that are my regular donors, you know, comment on the whole controversy with Planned Parenthood and everything, but I was able to raise the required amount," she said.
On Komen's Web page for the Rock 'n' Roll race, the pink fundraising thermometer still hasn't hit its $100,000 goal; it was at 38 percent following the race.
But Komen officials believe they will still reach their goal.
"We don't have all the final numbers," spokesman Mark Anadolny said. "What I tell you is that it looks pretty comparable to last year."
The Fort Worth Race for the Cure next month is still struggling; fundraising is down 27 percent. The controversy also forced the charity's New York affiliate to cancel some spring events.
Komen is keeping track of the problem. "We've also had some that have lagged a little bit, so we are watching those carefully," Anadolny said.
But the runners pledged to Komen in Dallas Sunday went the distance — despite the obstacles — because they stayed focused on their inspiration.
"I lost my mother in '09 to breast cancer, and you know, it means a lot to me to fight for a cure — not only for my mother's memory, but for my future and my children's future," McLaughlin said.