Search for answers at heart of Bra Dash 5K

Kristi Blair’s vision for the second Bra Dash 5K is not too different from the first time around.

A group of participants in the 2012 Bra Dash 5K at Lake Wilderness park pose in front of the collection of bras prior to hanging theirs on the line.

A group of participants in the 2012 Bra Dash 5K at Lake Wilderness park pose in front of the collection of bras prior to hanging theirs on the line.

Kristi Blair’s vision for the second Bra Dash 5K is not too different from the first time around.

Blair, founder of the Maple Valley-based nonprofit Wings of Karen, said the plan for this year’s event, set for Sept. 15 at Lake Wilderness Park, is much the same as a year ago. The event raised $30,000 which was given as a grant to a scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“We’re just building on what we had last year,” Blair said. “It was such a great success.”

Given how well last year’s Bra Dash — a 5 kilometer run or walk — Blair didn’t want to change the formula. Not only was the inaugural event able to generate so much in cash donations it drew about 800 participants. As of Aug. 14 about 1,000 signed up for this year’s event.

Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some new elements this year.

“Part of how it has changed is the support,” Blair said. “Now that we have a year behind us all of the businesses … are backing the run.”

Sponsors such as Talking Rain, The Walking Co. and Sports Authority have offered a tremendous amount of support, Blair said.

“Everything is just bigger and better,” Blair said. “Because of the sponsors there’s some really fun things planned, booths … lots of giveaways that will make it a full event.”

A year ago participants were encouraged to wear a bra over their shirt. Many decorated the bras, wore costumes, tutus, wings and more. This year Blair hopes to see more bras hung up in the park after the event is over. For those who formed teams, one of the sponsors has planned bra wars, a tug of war with bras between teams.

“It was fantastic,” Blair said. “We had no idea when we had this idea for this run. It is exactly what we wanted it to be, with Wings of Karen, especially being a survivor, there’s a lot of sadness … but this is really a celebration. That was something I was really proud of last year is that everyone had a great time, there were a lot of laughs, a lot of smiles.”

Blair described last year’s Bra Dash as powerful particularly because of the support from the community, not just Maple Valley, but from all around it.

“That’s the theme for our participants, local heroes … because of what they’re giving back just by participating,” Blair said. “Look what these local heroes did to fund this grant.”

That grant went to a researcher focused on finding another method of early detection, Blair said, because 20 percent of women are not diagnosed by a mammogram. That tool did not diagnose her breast cancer nor did it catch her mother’s, who is the namesake of the foundation.

Blair said she would like to see twice as many participants and twice as much money raised this year. Typically the last few weeks before the race bring the most registrations, so, she won’t know if they reach that goal until days before the event. She encourages participants to fundraise but it is not a requirement. Whatever money is raised by this event, 100 percent will go toward research in the Puget Sound region.

“We have such phenomenal facilities in this area, we should support them,” Blair. “We have some of the best facilities in the world.”

She also hopes those who attend the Bra Dash year also find it inspiring in terms of getting healthy in their own lives. Blair explained there is a significant amount of research which shows that being active can help prevent breast cancer.

“You might get a handful of people who are out there for their (race) time and the run, but, for a lot of people it’s about the experience,” Blair said. “You can make of it whatever you want. It’s purely to do something active for a good cause with your buddies. We were hoping it would inspire people not only for the cause but for their own personal health.”

Blair is also excited about the new course this year which is a loop that starts in Lake Wilderness Park near the beach then heads up onto the Cedar River Trail then comes back.

“It’s really scenic which is what I wanted, I wanted to capture Lake Wilderness Park, it’s so pretty,” Blair said. “Last year it was so new, people out in the community when we came by their homes they came out and cheered even if they didn’t know.”

At this point just a few weeks out, Blair said, there are just details to take care of but the planning is wrapped up. What people can do, if they want to support the Bra Dash, is to get the word out. She cited how the Maple Valley Bears youth football team has gotten involved, invited its players to participate, wear pink football socks.

“Word of mouth is fantastic,” Blair said. “We don’t spend money on advertising because we want it all to go to the cause.”

Register by Aug. 31 to get an event T-shirt. Registration closes Sept. 10 but there will be day of event registration.

Blair said that while she is particularly passionate about breast cancer research she knows people are touched by cancer in many ways.

“When you stand in line at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as a patient and you see the line is out the door and it’s all cancers … you realize we need to find answers,” she said.

While it’s going to be bigger and better, the Bra Dash hasn’t changed much in the past year, because it’s all about raising money to find answers.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

U.S. Department of Justice logo.
Renton man sentenced for killing of woman in Olympic National Forest

Authorities say the he brutally beat to death the California woman who he was having an affair with.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Environmental microbiologist Dr. Natalie Prystajecky with some of her staff members at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Photo: Submitted
Wastewater testing for COVID-19 coming to Interior Health

Testing can tell whether cases are rising or falling in a community

King County logo
King County audit finds backlog of property tax exemption applications for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans

The auditors found that program expansions lead to three-times the amount of applications.

Most Read