For the first time ever, THON alumni in Fairfax, Virginia are hosting a 5K to support DMAIG, The Hope Express, and, ultimately, THON. The Inaugural Fairfax 5K and Kids Fun Run takes place on Saturday, October 31st at the Fairfax County Government Center. Entry is $30 for the 5K ($45 if you’d like a performance t-shirt) and $10 for the Kids Fun Run. Be sure to dress appropriately for Halloween – the race includes a costume contest – and, of course, candy at the finish line.
We spoke with race organizers Mike Carroll and Liz Hartigan to tell us a little more about the event. Carroll, a Hope Express enthusiast, has been a part of running events for 10 years and decided it was time to organize his own. While driving along the Hope Express’s Conquer Route last year, the two began talking about having a similar event in their part of the country – and thus, the Fairfax 5k was born.
Both Mike and Liz were heavily involved with THON as students. Carroll was on a Rules and Regulations committee in 2003 and a Morale committee for 2002-2003, and a Morale Captain for THON 2004. Hartigan was also on R&R, in 2008 and 2009, a Donor Relations Committee member in 2010, and was THON Chair for Singing Lions in 2010 and 2011. She also danced for Singing Lions in 2010. Needless to say – these two had the passion needed to plan a THON event post-graduation.
Carroll spent the last few months talking to race directors, local municipalities, and running stores to get all of his bases covered, while Hartigan has helped promote through social media and communicate with DMAIG.
When asked what she’s looking forward to most on raceday, Hartigan talked about the feeling most Penn Staters have had in trying to explain THON to others. Thankfully, though, she said, “At this event, they will be able to catch on to the enthusiasm and passion for finding a cure for pediatric cancer that so closely matches the passion of THON and the Hope Express.”
Carroll noted his anticipation for the Kids Fun Run. After all, he says, “The innocence and excitement of children is why we all chose to get involved with THON in the first place and getting to watch that crazy group of kids run around for candy will surely be the highlight of the day!” He’s also hoping, from a “professional level,” that the event goes off without a hitch – and so do we!
While both Carroll and Hartigan are looking forward to raceday, plans are already in advance for next year, so save the date for October 29, 2016!
Both of these proud Penn State alumni are not only anticipating a day of fun and fundraising, but they’re hoping to bring awareness of THON and the Hope Express to Northern Virginia.
After all, says Hartigan, “By extending the Hope Express to Fairfax, we’re demonstrating how the power of passionate individuals can make a large difference in this world. Running 3.1 miles is just one way to do that, but becoming part of something bigger than yourself can make a world of difference.”
For more information about the Inaugural Fairfax 5K & Kids Fun Run, visit their website at fairfax5k.com or call 814-808-KIDS (5437). They’re also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.