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10th Annual Goblin Gallop is Oct. 26

Halloween will soon be here, and that means it's time for the 10th Annual Goblin Gallop. It'll be held Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center; the 1K fun run starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 5K race at 9 a.m.

"We're expecting about 1,000 participants — we usually get about 800 runners and 200 walkers," said George Quadrino. "Besides the prizes awarded, everybody gets a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt, and kids also get a golden runner's medallion that hangs around their neck."

PROCEEDS GO to The John Quadrino Foundation to Benefit Children with Cancer. It's named in memory of George Quadrino's son who died of cancer in 1985.

"Over eight years, the race has brought in more than $110,000 to help sick children," he said. "Last year's race was cancelled because of the sniper scare so, this year, we're really trying to attract back both runners and spectators."

The race begins at the Olive Garden restaurant and ends 100 yards beyond it. Race-day registration will be in front of Applebee's. Entry fees are $20 for the 5K and $15 for the 1K, by Oct. 20; after that date, fees are $25 and $20, respectively. Register online at www.racepacket.com.

Packet pick-up is Friday, Oct. 24, from noon-7 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Gold's Gym, 10201 Main St. in Fairfax (enter via Locust Street). Race-day packet pick-up is 7-8:30 a.m. at the registration desk. The course is USATF-certified and goes along the Fair Lakes Parkway. No dogs, strollers, baby joggers or headphones are allowed in the 5K.

Prizes valued at $150, $100 and $50 will be awarded to the top three, overall, male and female finishers. Prizes will also be given to the top three male and female finishers in various age categories. And door prizes including Washington Redskins football tickets will be randomly awarded throughout the morning.

A LIVE BAND, the Grimes Brothers, will entertain the crowd with classic rock and roll. Propel Fitness Water will be supplied to all the runners; afterward, they'll be able to enjoy fruit, bagels and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

And since this is the Goblin Gallop, after all, don't be surprised to see Superman, Spider-Man or even SpongeBob SquarePants competing. "Both kids and adults are welcome to run in costume, and many do," said Quadrino. "The tin man always runs; he's wrapped in aluminum foil. And we'll be giving prizes for the best costumes in various categories."

But behind all the fun is a serious purpose — raising money to help families whose children have cancer. Because the medical bills can be overwhelming, parents often need help paying overdue rent and utility bills, making car payments or paying for home or auto repairs.

"It's also because, many times, one parent has to quit a job to take care of the child," explained Quadrino. "So a family that, previously, had no financial problems suddenly finds itself in need of help. Often, we stand between the wolf and the door."

He said the money is also used to provide fun things for children, too, such as a stay at a special camp for children with cancer. "The camps are all over the country, and we provide transportation and, sometimes, the clothing they'll need," said Quadrino. "We also buy wigs and air conditioners and even pay for Internet connections so a child can stay connected to his or her school and friends."

The foundation holds other fund-raisers, too, and they're all vital. "We make 250 grants a year to the parents," said Quadrino. "Last year, it was about $85,000."

THAT'S WHY he's hoping for a terrific turnout for this year's Goblin Gallop. "People come from all over Northern Virginia, plus Washington, D.C., and Maryland," he said. Race results will be posted, by the end of the day, at www.racepacket.com. The Goblin Gallop is a Dodge Grand Prix Series race.

Main sponsor of the event is The Shaffer Charitable Foundation. Other top sponsors include Gold's Gym, E-Engineering, Washington Intelligence Bureau, BJ's Wholesale Club, The Data Center and Progressive.

Anyone not wishing to participate in the race, but wanting to make a donation may send a check payable to The John Quadrino Foundation to P.O. Box 4614, Falls Church, VA 22044. For more information, see the Web site, www.goblingallop.org, call 703-536-2027.

Contributions are tax-deductible and may also be made via the Combined Federal Campaign/United Way by designating them for CFC/UW No. 8931.