Santa’s Castle plans 5K Elf Glow Run

By Tracy A. Bailey, Santa’s Castle /

Mark your calendars, get your costume ready, put on your running shoes and get ready for the Annual 5K Glow Elf Run or Walk Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. at Big Dog Running Company on Broadway.

“Santa’s Castle is a 100 percent volunteer run, nonprofit 501(c)(3) that strives to provide toys for children of Fort Benning Soldiers who are facing financial hardship at Christmas,” said Melissa Glasspoole, Santa’s Castle president. “Each child receives brand new and age appropriate toys, and each Family receives a board game.”

The Elf Glow Run is Santa’s Castle annual fundraiser and kick-off to the Christmas season, Glasspoole said. It serves as a way to raise money and awareness of Santa’s Castle and what the organization does for the Families of Fort Benning Soldiers. Last year, Santa’s Castle provided toys to more than 750 Fort Benning children.

The run typically has a festive mood, with a live DJ and of course, Santa, she said. There will be a costume contest for anyone who would like to dress up, with prizes for individuals with the best costumes and group spirit.

“There will also be multiple door prizes. Each registrant will receive a ticket for a door prize, and can bring a toy or monetary donation and receive an additional door prize ticket.”

This year’s run will start at 8 p.m. with registration beginning at 7 p.m. The cost is $25 per individual and $20 per participant for a Family or group of three or more. After Sept. 2, it is $35 per individual and $30 per participant for a Family or group team of three or more.

Participants in the Fort Benning Santa's Castle Sept. 26, 2015 Elf run pose for a photograph.

Participants in the Fort Benning Santa’s Castle Sept. 26, 2015 Elf run pose for a photograph.

Children 10 and younger are free; however, if they want a T-shirt, the cost will be $10 and must be purchased by Sept. 2. Only preregistered participants are guaranteed a T-shirt and glow stick, and late or race day registrants will receive T-shirts and glow sticks while supplies last.

This event is not timed and individuals of all ages are welcome to participate.

There will be additional glow items for purchase.

“We had a great turnout last year when we moved the run into the Columbus community. This year we’re hoping for even more participation and awareness for Santa’s Castle by starting the race on Broadway,” Glasspoole said.

To sign up for the run, email ftbenningelfrun@gmail.com, or to donate to Santa’s Castle, visit www.santascastlebenning.org or www.facebook.com/Ft.BenningSantasCastle.

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