Winter Blast Race Brings Awareness, Funding to Breast Cancer Mission

First Year Partnership Between Kalamazoo Area Runners Club, the City of Portage and Komen Michigan Hopes to Grow Community and Impact


January 7, 2019, PORTAGE, MI – The 7th annual Winter Blast Half Marathon/10k/5k is scheduled for Sunday, February 24, 2019 at Loy Norrix High School, with an activity filled Sponsor Expo held the day before on Saturday, February 23, 2019. The event is presented by the Kalamazoo Area Runners (KAR), the City of Portage and presenting sponsors Meijer, Premier Radiology, and Mercantile Bank.

The 2019 Winter Blast will introduce a brand new partner, Komen Michigan, with all proceeds benefitting their fight against breast cancer through granting local programs, legislative advocacy, community events and research for advancements in diagnosis, treatment and cures.

Also new this year is a brand new course, with finisher medals for all participants and incentives to participants who choose to fundraise or make a donation to Komen Michigan.

“KAR is thrilled to partner with Komen Michigan and the City of Portage for the 2019 Winter Blast Half Marathon/10k/5k and focus the event’s fundraising efforts on supporting the fight against breast cancer,” said Bonnie Sexton, President of KAR. “Breast cancer has affected the lives of many in our local community, including those within our family of runners, so we are thankful to be able to honor them through this collaborative effort.”

Join us in this extraordinary community celebration of health and wellness. The race course highlights the Portage Trail Way System and includes a mix of mostly flat paved bike trail and roads. Starting at Loy Norrix High School, racers will experience a combination of snowy winter landscapes and the quiet beauty of Portage’s amazing trails, all USAT&F certified.

“Komen has held a 5K race in the Southwest region for more than 25 years,” said Erica Bills, Executive Director of Komen Michigan. “We are passionate about this community and are honored to now be a part of the Winter Blast tradition as a partner with KAR. We hope to continue to expand the reach of our mission and ultimately improve the wellbeing of Portage through breast cancer awareness efforts like this.”

The Sponsor Expo will go from 8:00am to 2:00pm on Sunday, February 24, 2019, also to be held at Loy Norrix High School in the commons area. The expo will include fun activities, sponsor giveaways, late registration and packet pick-up. On race day, registration and packet pick-up will be at Loy Norrix High School from 6:30 – 7:30 am, with running events starting at 8:00 am. Live entertainment and refreshments will be provided after the races finish.

The event registration is open on and about 800 runners are expected to participate. Volunteers are also needed to help staff both the expo and Sunday’s running events. About 250 volunteers are needed to support this event.

Join us in celebrating this signature event by participating or volunteering. More information on the Winter Blast Half Marathon/10k/5k, including registration information and volunteer opportunities, can be found at



About Komen Michigan

Komen Michigan is committed to saving lives and reducing breast cancer deaths in Michigan. Through targeted, culturally-relevant education programs, screenings, diagnostics, transportation, survivor support programs and events like Race for the Cure®, Komen Michigan touched more than 60,000 lives in Michigan in 2017. Over the past 20 years, Komen Michigan has funded over $12 million in community breast health programs and support across 24 counties, filling the gap for much-needed services. Contact us at (616) 752-8262 or

About Kalamazoo Area Runners
Kalamazoo Area Runners (KAR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle through the sport of running while enhancing the quality of life in the community. They are committed to offering exceptional value and connecting the community through offering quality events and programs at low cost. Through the sport of running, they are dedicated to developing volunteer leadership; equipping, enabling and empowering them to serve within the organization, as well as within the running and greater community. Learn more at

About City of Portage

The City of Portage is rich with opportunities – a family-oriented area with a high quality of life, a strong economy and outstanding educational choices. Portage is known for its extensive network of historical parks and trails used for cycling, walking, canoeing, and other recreational activities.  Year after year, the City of Portage is recognized for excellence in areas such as public safety, innovative use of technology, financial planning and budgeting, public works projects, parks and recreation programs, public communications and other areas of public service. Learn more at