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Race Captures Small Town Feel

Twilight 5K and 1-mile fun run/walk are June 10.

All aboard for the ninth annual Clifton Caboose Twilight Run. The 5K and 1-mile fun run/walk takes place Saturday, June 10, at 6 p.m., on the outskirts of the Town of Clifton.

Entry fees are $19 for the 5K and $14 for the 1-mile. Register online at www.SignMeUp.com/54169. Medals will be awarded to the top overall male and female participants and age-group winners. As always, an award is given to the last place or, caboose, finisher.

Gary Anderson, owner of the Clifton Coffee Mill, is race director for the second year in a row and is glad to do it. "It's just such a great event and something I feel needs to keep happening," he said. "I've also run in the race, the past four or five years, and plan to run again, this year."

Both the 5K and the fun run/walk begin and end at the triangle of Clifton and Neuman roads and Main Street. Dogs aren't allowed in the race, but strollers are OK. Reston Runners will time the racers and manage the finish line, and water and post-race refreshments will be provided for all the runners.

Pre-registered participants will also receive professionally designed, short-sleeved, commemorative T-shirts. "I think the design this year is pretty cool," said Anderson. "It'll probably be a white T-shirt with an eye-catching caboose superimposed on a map of the D.C. area."

Packet pick-up/registration (cash/check only) is Friday, June 9, from 5-7 p.m., at the Clifton Coffee Mill, next to the Clifton Store on Main Street. Race-day registration and packet pickup is at the same place, from 4-5:30 p.m. For more information, see www.cliftonva.org or call 703-968-0740.

SOME 436 PEOPLE took part in last year's twilight run, raising about $7,000 to help purchase new playground equipment for the town park. This time, proceeds will benefit the Clifton Betterment Association (CBA), dedicated to improving the town and its surroundings.

"We'd like to match what we did last year and, hopefully, improve on it," said Anderson. "We're hoping for a good turnout and seeing some new and returning faces."

Traffic will be kept from the roads involved during the race, so early arrival is encouraged. Parking is available at the end of Chapel Street, in the flood plain off Main Street, at Clifton Elementary and at the Clifton House Shops on Chapel Road.

After the race, a picnic will take place in Clifton's town park. Attendees may bring their own picnic dinners to eat while enjoying live, musical entertainment provided by Clifton's noted blues guitarist, Colin Thompson, and his band. In keeping with tradition, The Clifton Store will treat children to frozen, giant Popsicles.

Anderson, CBA President Michelle Stein and some others have been working on the caboose race since January. "We were getting on race calendars, doing publicity, securing the necessary permits and arranging for sponsors," said Anderson. "We were also busy ordering things such as race numbers, T-shirts and water."

Anderson said several things make this event something to look forward to. "It's an evening race, followed by a great party in the park," he said. "It's quintessential, small-town America, with people enjoying picnics and listening to entertainment. And the race is run in beautiful surroundings — and a lot of folks aren't used to seeing this kind of setting in an urban area."

Making it even better, he said, is that "they'll get to see it up close, rather than from a car window. They'll be running past horse pastures and rolling hills, so it gives people a chance to experience country life."