Fair Lakes 8K Race is Sept. 12

Fair Lakes 8K Race is Sept. 12

Just 10 days remain until the 18th annual Fair Lakes 8K Race and 2K Fun Run/Walk. Sponsored by The Peterson Cos., it will be held Sunday, Sept. 12, at 8:30 a.m.

USATF-certified, it begins and ends at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle — between the Fairfax County and Fair Lakes parkways — in Fairfax. And it'll be held, rain or shine. The fun/run walk kicks off 10 minutes after the 8K, at 8:40 a.m.

REGISTRATION IS $25, adults; 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 ssutphin@petersoncos.com.

Besides being a good way to get some exercise, the Fair Lakes 8K also gives people an opportunity to help their fellow man. Proceeds from the race go to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and enable 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 it's vitally important that as many people as possible are tested to become potential marrow donors.

"The greater number of donors that join the registry, the greater the chance that someone else will have a second chance at life," said NMDP spokesman Patrick Thompson, speaking from the organization's headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn.

Almost 70 percent of patients needing a bone-marrow transplant cannot find donors within their own families. And their chances of finding an unrelated donor range 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.

"IT'S VERY admirable — all the people who participate in the Fair Lakes 8K and those who sign up for the registry," said Thompson. "They're calling attention to the need for more donors."

Race director Zach David, of The Peterson Cos., agrees. "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 said.

Because of last year's race, noted David, 156 people were tested for the marrow registry. This year, he said, "We hope to test 1,000 people."

In addition to Caucasians, said Thompson, the NMDP is "encouraging people of color to join the registry because it's more difficult to find a match for them because of the complexity of their blood types. Some racial and ethnic groups tend to have more uncommon tissue types; therefore, they find it harder to find matches."

The NMDP was created in 1986 and, since then, it's facilitated more than 19,000 bone-marrow transplants throughout the U.S. and the world. For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org.

AS FOR the upcoming Fair Lakes 8K, Thompson couldn't be happier. "It's exciting that this event is being held," he said. "I think it's just terrific — someone who needs a transplant might find a match within the group of people that signs up that weekend."

Last year's event drew 1,323 participants — 898 runners and 425 walkers. This year's post-race awards ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m.; prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in the male and female, wheelchair and children's divisions.

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. Participants will receive T-shirts, and there's a post-race buffet, a deejay, door prizes and more.

* Registration and packet pick-up: Sept. 11, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., main lobby of the Hyatt Fair Lakes, 12777 Fair Lakes Circle (call 703-818-1234) or Sept. 12, between 7-8 a.m., at the finish-line area.

* Testing for the bone-marrow donor program: 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. Those tested receive raffle tickets for door prizes.