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Friday, September 7, 2018

Run the trails in Mason District Park at the Sept. 22 Running Festival

Kids prepare for the fun run at the 2017 Mason District Running Festival. [Bernard Pesjak]
The third Mason District Running Festival, set for Saturday, Sept. 22, at Mason District Park, is expected to attract more participants than ever.

Rather than a single race, the Running Festival offers six different events to appeal to runners of all ages and abilities.

The event starts at 8 a.m. with a six-hour and three-hour run. At 9 a.m., the 5K and 10K starts. There will be a kids’ fun run, approximately one mile, at 10 a.m. A half-marathon starts at 11 a.m.

There is no cost to register. To reduce costs, the races aren’t officially certified, there are no T-shirts, and there is no timing with electronic chips, although race monitors will use stopwatches to give runners a good idea of how well they did.

The event is more about having fun and getting fit out-of-doors than winning a race, says the organizer, Bernard Pesjak of Get Up and Go Coaching.

“By offering a variety of options, we hope to appeal to complete novice runners, as well as to seasoned long distance champions and everyone in between,” says Pesjak. “We welcome young ones, families, retirees, school kids and their teachers, walkers, and ultra-marathoners.”

Pesjak expects up to 300 people to participate with about 100 on the trails at the same time.

Everyone interested in participating – or just interested in getting started in running – is invited to a free running class on Sunday, Sept. 9, at PR Performance Fitness, 4111 John Marr Drive, Annandale, sponsored by PR and Get Up and Go Coaching.

The running clinic and the Mason District Running Festival both offer a great chance to practice for the Taste of Annandale 5K, which also takes place in Mason District Park. To register for that event, Oct. 13, 9:30 a.m., click here.

Registration for the running class isn’t necessary, but if you’re planning to attend, send an email to or indicate you’re interest here,

At the class, coaches from PR Performance Fitness will lead a warm-up/stretching session then will lead a practice run to Mason District Park and along the Mason District Running Festival 5K course. The class will end at the PR studio with a guided cool-down session.

PR Performance Fitness is a sponsor of Pesjak’s running festivals and the Taste of Annandale 5K.
At the upcoming Mason District Running Festival, PR will host a “recovery pit” for the six-hour runners, warm-sessions for the 5K and 10K runners, an injury prevention clinic for anyone interested at around 10 a.m., and running technique screenings throughout the event.

While there is no charge to participate in the Mason District Running Festival, donations are appreciated. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Shelter House, a local non-profit organization that serves families experiencing homelessness and victims of domestic violence.

Coffee and snacks will be provided, plus more substantial vegan dishes at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each participant will receive a free raffle ticket that could result in a nice prize.

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