Each September, The Peterson Cos. is the main sponsor of the Fair Lakes 8K Race and 2K Fun Run/Walk. And every time is just as important as the time before because the proceeds help people needing bone-marrow donations.
"Organ and marrow-donation has become such a viable option for people nowadays that getting as many people as possible on the bone-marrow registry increases their chances of finding a match," explained Zach David, race director and The Peterson Cos.' assistant treasurer.
This year's event, the 18th annual, will be held Sunday, Sept. 12, at 8:30 a.m. in Fair Lakes. As always, it will be held, rain or shine, and the course ends at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle — between the Fairfax County and Fair Lakes parkways — in Fairfax.
The fun/run walk kicks off 10 minutes after the 8K, at 8:40 a.m.
Registration is $20 before Sept. 1 and $25 afterwards; children, 12 and under, are $10, and the race fee is tax-deductible. Register online at www.racepacket.com or www.active.com. For more information, call 703-631-7571 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAST YEAR'S event drew 1,323 participants — 898 runners and 425 walkers. The 8K male and female winners were Eric Post, 24, of Fair Lakes — a math teacher at Chantilly High, and Alisa Harvey, 37, of Manassas — a track coach at GMU.
And because of last year's race, 156 people were tested for the marrow registry. The money raised goes to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), and enables people to be tested for free so they may be entered into the national registry.
For many people with fatal blood diseases, the only hope for a cure is a marrow transplant. That's why, said David, "building awareness [of the need for bone-marrow registrants] is another mission of the Fair Lakes 8K."
"This event has been a great success in increasing its participation, the amount of money raised and the amount of people tested every year," he continued. "This year, we hope to test 1,000 people."
The post-race awards ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m., and prizes will be awarded 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 to the winners of various age divisions. A trophy and prize will be given to the top team, as well. Five to 10 people may comprise a team; each team must be co-ed, and team members should send in their entry forms together.
Each registered participant will receive a free T-shirt. There'll also be a post-race buffet, a deejay from Classic Rock station 94.7 FM, door prizes and more.
* REGISTRATION and packet pick-up will be Saturday, Sept. 11, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., in the main lobby of the Hyatt Fair Lakes at 12777 Fair Lakes Circle (call 703-818-1234) or Sunday, Sept. 12, between 7-8 a.m., at the finish-line area at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle.
* Testing for the bone-marrow donor program is also Sept. 11, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Hyatt Fair Lakes, and Sept. 12, from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle. Anyone screened on those two days will receive a raffle ticket for a door prize.
Almost 70 percent of patients needing a bone-marrow transplant cannot find donors within their families. Their chance of finding an unrelated donor is from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1 million. But the odds of finding an unrelated donor increase with every person who joins the NMDP registry. For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org.