Lace up your sneakers and get ready to run, because the 11th Annual Autism Speaks 5K Run/1 Mile Walk is coming up this weekend.
On July 4, about 1,800 runners from around the region will come to the Potomac Library to compete in a 5K race and show their support for those with autism through Autism Speaks — the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organizations, according to its website. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes prevention, treatment and a cure for autism.
“With one in every 110 children affected by autism, and one in every 70 boys, this national crisis is everyone’s cause,” Steve Kirstein, BOWA principal and sponsorship chair for Autism Speaks said in a news release. “Over the past ten years, we’ve walked, jogged or ran our way to more than $2 million for autism research and hope to make this year even more successful.”
On race day there will be a pre-race warm-up with professional trainer Fred Foster at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K road race will start at 8 a.m. The 1 mile walk will start at 8:05 a.m.
The 5K race will have a “wave start” with four different groups of runners starting at different times because of the large crowd expected and the narrow race start on Counselman Road. Runners will wear a “ChampionChip,” which will track their times from a chip attached to their shoe.
Fundraising is a large component of the event. Groups from around the area have formed teams with raising money in mind. Each team member (adult and child) is encouraged to set a minimum fundraising goal of $100, according to the event’s site.
Some of Potomac’s teams include groups from Wayside Elementary School, Herbert Hoover Middle School, Bullis School, Winston Churchill High School, Connelly School of the Holy Child and collections of local friends and families.
Even if you can’t participate in the races, you don’t have to feel left out. Anyone can participate in the “Run Anywhere” initiative. By registering online, people who can’t be at the race site can receive their shirt in advance and be able to raise money for autism anywhere.
It's not too late to register to run this weekend. It will cost $30 to register online before midnight on June 30 and $40 to register the day of the race. It is $15 for children 14 years and younger.
“Participating in the 5K is a great way to kick off the holiday and spend time with family and friends,” said Josh Baker, founder of BOWA and a top fundraiser for the event in a news release. “We’re proud to support this cause year after year and help raise money for autism awareness.”