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Run For Your Buns | Fighting Colon Cancer One Step At A Time

Run For Your Buns | Fighting Colon Cancer One Step At A Time

March 29, 2021

Updated: 3.18.2022

The annual Run For Your Buns event is a family-friendly 5K/10K race held in Grand Forks, ND.  The event showcases the Greater Grand Forks Greenway and promotes fitness and a healthy lifestyle while raising awareness for colon cancer screenings. Kamrin Macki, a nurse practitioner caring for patients in gastroenterology at Altru, shares details about the upcoming race, the importance of screenings and how to participate in the race. 

Tell us about Run For Your Buns. How did it start? 

Kami Macki: When the race was just an idea, I was trying to create awareness for colon cancer as a GI nurse practitioner. At that time less than 60% of North Dakotans had received their screening colonoscopies and colon cancer was being diagnosed at a more advanced stage due to delayed screenings. I was often faced with patients who were unaware of colon cancer screening recommendations and many patients who could not afford the testing. This sparked an idea to raise awareness through a community event. As a runner, blending my love for running with a passion to help others, set Run For Your Buns walk/run into motion. By having a light-hearted and humorous approach to colon cancer screening, I hoped to eliminate the fear of having a colonoscopy. 

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Why is it important for you to raise awareness for Colorectal Cancer Awareness? 

March is National Colon Cancer Awareness month and colorectal screenings save lives. If everyone 50 years and older were screened regularly, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer would be avoided. Run For Your Buns participates in National Colon Cancer Awareness month with social media posts to help further the campaign and raise awareness. 

What do you love about organizing Run For Your Buns? 

Everyone has a story to tell. Some run the race to support our cause, some run the race in honor of someone who had colon cancer, some run the race as colon cancer survivors, some run the race for their health and fitness, and some run the race to achieve their personal best race time. No matter why they ran, I love seeing their smiles as they cross the finish line. We have participants that have been part of the event every year. 

 What’s your favorite memory of Run for Your Buns?  

There are many fond memories, from “cheeky” colon cancer awareness signage on the racecourse, to the large inflatable colon at the end of the race, to the racers that run in memory or support of those with colon cancer. 

People lining up outside to run a marathon.

How many people typically participate?  

Typically between 300-500 people. Last year we were the first in-person race of the summer and were able to host it with all the COVID restrictions, so it we had to limit it to 250 people. This year, I am hoping we have 500+ racers. 

What’s the best way to stop colorectal cancer? 

Prevention is the best way to stop colorectal cancer. Colonoscopies can prevent colorectal cancer by removing pre-cancerous polyps before they have the opportunity to progress into cancer. Colonoscopies also detect colon cancer and if it is caught at an early stage, surgery can cure patients from the cancer. 

How can I be screened for colorectal cancer? Do I need to speak with my primary care provider first? 

Altru has open access to schedule colonoscopies if you are over the age of 50. If you have other risk factors (symptoms or family history), it is best to speak with your primary care provider regarding recommendations. 

What are some symptoms of colorectal cancer? Are symptoms of colorectal cancer very obvious or more deceiving? 

Symptoms can include: change in bowel habits, bleeding from the rectum, abdominal pain, weight loss, anemia (low hemoglobin) and weakness/fatigue. 

How prevalent is colorectal cancer?

It is estimated that colorectal cancer affects 1 in 20 adults over the age of 50. 

What can we do to get healthy and fight back against colorectal illness? 

Colorectal cancer may be associated with the typical Western Diet (high fat/calories and low fiber), sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, heavy alcohol consumption, obesity and smoking. 

Is Run For Your Buns an option for people who may be beginners to running and fitness? 
We welcome all fitness levels! We offer a 5K and 10K distance. Approximately 1/3 of our participants are seasoned runners and the remaining 2/3 are casual racers. 

Are there any training resources you’d recommend?

The first step is taking “the first step.” Set a goal to complete one of these races. Commitment will help make the goal achievable, so I recommend signing up for the race.  Then plan your training.  Set aside time every day for “you” to meet your goals. We have training plans available for racers if they need one to follow. Otherwise, there are many free training plans online. There are several online “couch to 5K” or “couch to 10K” training plans available for the novice runner. We generally include training plans on our Facebook page in April to prepare our participants. This is another wonderful reason to follow our Facebook page. 

Proceeds from Run For Your Buns goes to the Altru Health Foundation. What specifically does this money go to? 

The main goal of the event is to raise awareness for colon cancer screening. We have had very generous sponsors through the years that offset the costs to host the event. This allowed for net proceeds to be donated to the Altru Health Foundation Colon Cancer Screening Initiative. This program allows patients who are uninsured or under-insured to receive colonoscopies. 

What made you want to help people cover these costs?

Several times a week in my career as a gastroenterology nurse practitioner, patients will decline procedures because they do not have insurance or their insurance will not cover screening colonoscopies very well. I do not feel that financial constraints should be a hinderance to receiving a potentially lifesaving procedure, so I decided to help raise funds to help those in need while hosting the RFYB race. 

Anything else you want people to know about Run For Your Buns? 

This event is a chance to participate in a local family friendly race on the beautiful Greater Grand Forks Greenway and a chance to be part of something bigger. Our tagline says it best: “we are running our butts off to save yours.” 

If you want to learn more about colorectal cancer screening, please speak with your primary care physician. 

Run For Your Buns will be on Saturday, June 11 at 8:30 a.m. The start line is in Lincoln Drive Park. Click here to register. 

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