Besides being a fun way to start a morning, participating in the Fair Lakes 8K Race and 2K Fun Run/Walk could very well save a life.
Proceeds from the event go to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), enabling people to be tested for free so they may be entered into the NMDP registry. Their bone marrow may be just the match that's needed for someone with a fatal blood disease.
The 17th annual Fair Lakes 8K takes place this Sunday, Sept. 7, at 8:30 a.m. The race will go on, rain or shine, beginning and ending at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle — between the Fairfax County and Fair Lakes parkways — in Fairfax. The fun/run walk starts 10 minutes after the 8K, at 8:40 a.m.
The Peterson Cos. of Fair Lakes is the event's main sponsor. So far, the Fair Lakes 8K has raised more than $300,000 in donations to the NMDP and resulted in nearly 2,000 people being added to its registry.
Race registration is $25; children 12 and under are $10, and the race fee is tax-deductible. Register online at www.racepacket.com or www.active.com, or call 703-631-7571. For more information, see firstname.lastname@example.org or www.fairlakes.com.
Prizes are given to the top finishers in the male and female, wheelchair and children's divisions. The fastest male and female will each receive $100, a trophy and a merchandise prize; second- and third-place males and females will win $50 and $25, respectively, plus merchandise prizes. Awards will also be given in various age divisions and to the top co-ed team.
More than 1,200 people participated in last year's race. Aaron Church, 27, of South Riding, was the first-place male finisher, and Lou Hohnka, 25, of Herndon, was the fastest female.
Testing for the bone-marrow donor program is Friday, Sept. 5, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle; Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Hyatt Fair Lakes, 12777 Fair Lakes Circle; and Sunday, Sept. 7, from 8-10 a.m., at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle.
Anyone screened on those two days will receive a raffle ticket for a door prize. For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org.
"The Fair Lakes 8K Race raises funds specifically for marrow screening for people suffering from life-threatening blood diseases," said Nina Hair, NMDP coordinator. "The chances of finding a family-member match are 30 percent or less, so that's why we have to go to unrelated donors."
If not for this event, Hair said, many families would not be able to afford a marrow drive to find a donor. "The race funds these drives," she said.
Those not wishing to participate in the race, but who would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the cause, may send checks payable to Fair Lakes 8K, c/o Zach David, The Peterson Cos., 12500 Fair Lakes Circle, #400, Fairfax, VA 22033.