ARLINGTON – The world needs more superheroes, and you can join their ranks when you register for the 12th Annual Friendship Walk and 5K Run hosted by Village Community Services in Arlington.
Races start at 9:30 a.m. Sept 28. They begin and end in Legion Park downtown and access the Centennial Trail.
Walk and run organizers hope to draw caped crusaders, runners and walkers ready to put on the miles to raise money for the Voices of the Village band, a client-based performance ensemble affiliated with the Arlington nonprofit VCS, and Village music and arts program.
VCS provides residential and employment support services, as well as advocacy, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Come be our superhero; support a great community cause, and have a whole lot of fun while you’re doing it,” VCS executive director Michelle Dietz said.
Joan Flesher of Warm Beach joins the walk every year with her son, Jeremy. He is a 41-year old man with classic autism who, while non-verbal, plays a mean tambourine at Friday jams with the Voices band.
Funds raised at the walk support the band and music program so he can continue be remain involved.
Flesher said her son has always enjoyed music.
“The first time he went years ago he was sensitive to sound and touch,” she said. “He lasted twenty seconds and he was out of there, but he went back because he loved hearing the music, then loved it even more when he picked up a tambourine.”
Flesher said the music is great for all the people in the Village group. “They’ve really come out of themselves.”
The Friendship Walk has become an extended family affair for the Fleshers. It now counts mom and dad, grandparents, younger brothers and teens participating, mostly walking, with a couple of runners in the group.
She said the reason others should join the event is because “It’s a lot of fun to be involved, support the music program and get some exercise.”
Cash prizes will be awarded to the top overall male and female finishers, as well as the top overall one-mile walk finisher.
Upon arrival, event-goers will be greeted by the upbeat sounds of the band performing on the Legion Park stage at the superhero event. It’s not unusual to see teams of Wonder Women and Supermen roaming the park.
Early bird registration through Sept 15 includes a Voices of the Village T-shirt while sizes and quantities last, or a water bottle or hat, if preferred. Entry fee is $20 for the 5K and mile walk (the rate goes up after Sept. 15), or $60 team registration for either the race or walk.
To sign up, go to https://runsignup.com/Race/WA/Arlington/Friendship5KRunWalk.
For details about Voices of the Village and VCS, go to http://villagecommunitysvcs.org.
“As a non-profit, it’s important for people to see and know something about the organization,” Flesher said. “The more public sees you and interacts with you, the more apt they are to support you.”