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Come join us at the 10th Annual Festival of Lights 5k at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, VA on Saturday Dec. 31, 2016 at 3 pm.

Every year the race proceeds are allocated 25% to Bull Run Regional Park and 75% to a charity Bull Run Runners hasn't donated to in the past. This year’s charity is Children's Hospice International-Fantasy Flight 2017.

What is Fantasy Flight? In 1989, Children’s Hospice International and United Airlines entered into a partnership to develop “Fantasy Flight to the North Pole” to take children with life-threatening conditions and their families on a magical journey in a special plane to the land of Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, elves, princesses, storybook friends and TV characters, toys, treats -- everything that children dream of at Christmas time.

The flight itself is a thrill for the children! From the moment the families arrive at Dulles, they are VIP guests, with “real” boarding passes to the North Pole. The flight is actually listed on the departure screen along with other destinations. The airplane interior and flight attendants are decked out in holiday attire. During the flight, with window shades lowered to protect the secrecy of the route, they listen to the captain announcing first sightings of Santa and reindeers flying across the northern skies. Our guests disembark through a gate which leads them to the magic land, aglow with lights and filled with everything that makes Christmas special. The sight of the children’s eyes, bright with excitement, is the greatest thanks that anyone connected with organizing this wonderful event can receive.

How Did It Start? The first Fantasy Flight at Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C was born in 1989 when United asked CHI to help “create” Fantasy Flight so that it would provide the kids and families with an amazing and meaningful experience. It was a tremendous success and eventually was expanded to 92 United Airlines stations around the world. Over the years, several thousand children have participated in the Fantasy Flight. CHI invites patients from children’s hospitals, hospices, and related institutions in the greater Washington area to attend with their families. There are approximately 240 passengers flying to and landing at the “North Pole” this year.

Bull Run Runners is excited to be able to host a 5k race to help support Fantasy Flight 2017. The 5k race will run through a portion of Bull Run Regional Park’s light show. The entire race event will be outdoors. A snowfall would make this a beautiful evening. But in the past it has been pretty warm for this time of the year, so be prepared. This is a wonderful time to enjoy friends and family while getting an evening of exercise in before the New Year starts.

We will have refreshments and awards following the race. All winners must be present to receive their awards. I look forward to seeing those who have run this race in the past and meeting all the new runners who haven't had the pleasure of feeling so good after completing a 5k race on New Year's Eve. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you can complete a 5k race.

Happy Holidays and hope we see YOU New Year's Eve 2016!