We recently met with Kami Macki, NP and Run For Your Buns organizer to get to know her a little better and understand her passion for fitness and medicine.
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 decided to merge my love for running and raise awareness for colon cancer by hosting an annual running event. 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.
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.
Why do you think people participate year after year?
It is a fun event. Our race swag is phenomenal and racers love the custom Fitsoks. And who wouldn’t want to finish a race by running through a giant inflatable colon?
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?
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 life–saving 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 12 at 8:30 a.m.
The start line is in Lincoln Drive Park.
To register, visit https://www.raceentry.com/run-for-your-buns/race-information