Music and warm-up Zumba dancing will wake up run participants. Kids will hop. Dogs will hop. Families will hop at the second annual Arlington Bunny Hop 5K Run/Walk for Arlington charities. The beneficiary will be Bridges to Independence for the second year in a row.
"The Bunny Hop got its name from the desire to identify this race as a springtime (Easter) and family-friendly event," said Denny Edelbrock, race director.
Last year, 600 people registered for the event, plus an unspecified number of dogs (not required to register.) This year they are expecting 900. The Bunny Hop also bookends the sister Thanksgiving race, the Arlington Turkey Trot.
Clarendon United Methodist Church is sponsoring the event, which will start at the church's location at 606 Irving St. in Arlington at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 27. The race will wind through the Ashton Heights neighborhood and the Columbia Gardens Cemetery before finishing at the church.
People of all ages are encouraged to participate, and costumes are not mandatory but are recommended, to put early morning smiles on the faces of participants. Last year the youngest "runners" were in strollers and some slept through the race while the oldest runner was in her 80s. Families often sign up as teams, and groups participate as well including last year's largest team consisting of the entire JV and Varsity team of Yorktown High School's women's lacrosse.
After the race, a block party will feature a live band plus strolling musicians, two Bouncy houses, face painting, and finish medals for all children 12 and under regardless of transportation method, by stroller or piggyback. Star Wars characters will mingle with the Easter bunny.
Sam Kelly, chief executive officer for Bridges to Independence, says proceeds from the race are critical to the organization's mission. "The support from the Arlington Bunny Hop will directly impact the housing and stability of more than 120 families here in our community."
Bridges to Independence is a private non-profit organization which began working with families in 1985. They offer a continuum of aid and support to lead families out of homelessness into stable, independent futures.