June 5 is Clifton Caboose Run

June 5 is Clifton Caboose Run

In the Clifton Caboose Twilight Run, even the last-place, or caboose, finisher gets a prize. The course is scenic, the proceeds go to charity and a picnic and live music follow.

"It's one of the few races the whole family can do together," said event organizer Bill Hummel. "It's fun, it's in the evening, and there's a picnic in the park afterward."

THIS YEAR'S seventh annual 5K race and 1-Mile fun run/walk will be held Saturday, June 5, in the Town of Clifton. The 1-mile starts at 6 p.m., with the 5K kicking off at 6:20 p.m. Register online at www.SignMeUp.com/26491; cost is $20/5K and $15/1-mile. For more information, call 703-968-0740 or see www.CliftonVA.org.

"The course begins in nostalgic, turn-of-the-century Clifton and winds its way through scenic, Virginia horse country," said Hummel. Participants will traverse a gently rolling country road, cross a creek and perhaps even gallop past a horse or two. (And baby strollers are allowed in the 1-mile).

The race begins and ends at the Clifton and Newman roads triangle, and Boy and Cub Scouts will pass out water along the way. They'll also help with parking, which is at the end of Chapel Street, in the flood plain off of Main Street, at Clifton Elementary and at the Clifton House shops on Chapel Road.

To date, the event has raised more than $60,000 for various charities. This year's proceeds will go to the Clifton Betterment Association (CBA) and Rainbow House, a Haitian orphanage for children with AIDS.

"Last year, we netted about $12,000 for the charities — and that was a record," said Hummel. "So if we could just meet that, I'd be happy."

A total of 800 runners and walkers were in last year's race and, so far, 200 people are registered for this one.

Early packet pick-up/registration will be held Friday, June 4, from 5-7 p.m., at the old Town Hall on Chapel Road, across from the fire station. Race-day packet pick-up/registration (cash/checks only) will be from 4:15-5:30 p.m. at the Clifton Town Meeting Hall, next to the fire station.

First-, second- and third-place finishers overall in the men's and women's divisions will receive trophies and ribbons, plus merchandise donated by local businesses. Prizes are also awarded in various, age-group categories.

THE MAIN sponsor for this year's caboose run is Anthony Reid Tax & Accounting Services of Clifton. And local Clifton artist Danny Kelliher designed the commemorative T-shirts for all pre-registered runners. The short-sleeved shirts are brightly colored and feature a caboose on a circular railroad track.

Afterward, families are welcome to bring their own picnic dinners to enjoy in the town park while local musicians entertain. The awards ceremony will also be held there. The Clifton Store is donating ice pops to all children participating in the event, and runners needing post-race massages may visit Drs. Paul Curcio and Tammy Cashion of the Chiropractic Family Health Centre, also in the park.

Hummel and his tireless committee of Dan Kelliher, Laura Harrington, Emmi Holmes and Fred Ansick began working on plans for the caboose run in February.

This is Hummel's third year as chairman and, he said, "There are lots of good events in Clifton, and this is one where I can help to make a difference. Besides, it's great seeing how many people become physically active because of this race — preparing for it, doing it and then staying in shape afterward."

The caboose run is held rain or shine, but Hummel hopes for good weather. After last year's torrential downpour, he said, this time around, "We just need a decent day, not too hot — and dry."