This year's Komen Race for the Cure in Indianapolis fell to 21,380 participants—a 22-percent drop from a year ago—a top organizer said Monday.
Susan G. Komen organizers told IBJ earlier this month that they hoped a late rush would help them match last year's participation of about 27,000. But Executive Director Dana Curish told The Indianapolis Star that Saturday's event was hampered by poor weather, competing events such as the Carmel Marathon and a lingering controversy over policies at the national Komen organization.
Controversy erupted in early 2012 when the national Komen organization pulled financial support for Planned Parenthood’s mammogram program. The decision, seen as politically motivated, infuriated supporters and was quickly reversed, irritating other supporters.
The fallout lingered. More than 50 Komen events across the country reported fundraising declines of 20 percent to 30 percent or more in 2012.
More than 27,000 people signed up for the 2012 race, down about 28 percent from the previous year. At its peak, about 40,000 people participated in the run/walk, making the Indianapolis race the sixth-largest in the country.
"A few years ago, there were two big races, Komen and the Mini Marathon," Curish said. "With all of the other things that were happening, it was a great day and everybody was happy."
Curish said her organization and the group that runs the Carmel Marathon have agreed that next year the two events won't fall on the same weekend. The Carmel Marathon helped raise money for Komen this year.
Next year's Race for the Cure is scheduled for April 12.
It's not clear yet how much money this year's race raised, but Curish said it might fall from last year's $2 million.
"With our registrations down, our fundraising might be down as well," she said.