Nearly 400 runners will scramble across the in Potomac this weekend for the third annual Bubba's Belly Run.
The 5K race is held in honor of Captain Brian "Bubba" Bunting, killed while serving in Afghanistan in February 2009, and has raised over $100,000 for families of fallen veterans, according to Belly Run founder Nicki Bunting.
This year’s run will take place Sunday, Sept. 25, at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
In preparation for the event, Nicki will spend the early afternoon Saturday placing six thousand American flags along Falls Road and Democracy Boulevard in memory of each service member who has been killed since 9/11.
"When you think of a number, it's just a quantitative amount," Nicki said. "But when you see the repetition of the flags, you can really get a visual impact of what America has lost."
Traditionally the flags make up the biggest part of Nicki's fundraiser, with donors sponsoring individual flags at $5 each. This year four thousand flags await sponsorship, and Nicki hopes that more donors will sign up by the day of Bubba's Belly Run.
Each year that Nicki has planted the flags as a visual memorial, curious drivers have stopped to hear her story.
"It clearly resonates with people," she said.
This year’s Belly Run goal is only about half met, but the impact of Bubba's Belly Run and its sole organizer is still extraordinary. Nicki has raised a total of $25,000 in three months of preparation for Sunday’s event, with three days left until the race.
Nicki said she looks forward to the turn-out and hopes more participants will sign up to help the event reach its target of 600 runners.
This year's Belly run will include a maternity walk and a fun run, in addition to the 5K race. Belly Run participants will receive a t-shirt and backpack, as well as snacks to enjoy after the race.
"Think of it as a family fun day," Nicki said.
"I think it's a great way to get your family and kids involved in showing support to our military in a fun way."