By Liz Lizama
The Falls Church Education Foundation (FCEF) has raised more than $100,000 over the ten years that it has been holding its annual Run for the Schools 5K race and 1-mile family fun run/walk.
And they hope to raise more before they begin their tenth race this Sunday, Sept. 14, at 8 a.m.
This year the FCEF aims to top its record attendance of over 650 participants last year. The race benefits the FCEF and Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS).
While the foundation also hosts an annual gala fundraiser, Jerry Barrett, an avid runner, one of the race’s founders and its planning committee chair, wanted to see a fundraiser that welcomed all ages and embraced the community.
“Let’s use the schools,” he said as he first proposed the run to Donna Englander, the foundation’s chair at the time. Englander, also an avid runner, was on board and the annual race emerged.
The foundation partnered with local student athletes to serve as race marshals and later introduced a one-mile course to appeal to families. Debbie Hiscott, executive director of the FCEF, said the event has mass appeal.
“We have participants in strollers, babies whose parents are still pushing them, all the way through people in their 80s,” Hiscott said.
At 81 years old, Barrett still looks forward to waking up at 5 a.m. to set up the barricades, mark the course and then run the course himself.
In previous years, the race included portions of Arlington and Fairfax County. The USATF-certified course, which starts at 300 Park Avenue, is now entirely within the City of Falls Church.
The registration fee for the event is $15 for participants under the age of 18 and $35 for everyone else.
FCEF expects that the race will draw many local public officials including Mayor David Tarter, City Council members and the school board and administration.
Following the race there will be family-friendly activities, including a moon bounce, face painting and music.