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First United Methodist Church of Morganton will host its eighth “The Night of Light 5k and Family Faith Run/Walk” on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The fun run/walk will begin at 5:15 p.m. The 5k run will begin at 6 p.m. Races will start and end at FUMC at 200 N. King St. in Morganton. Both races are open to runners and walkers.

The route begins at FUMC, runs down King Street to College Street, then down Queen Street and turns at the ATM toward the Morganton Community House. This loop will be repeated three times.

Registration fee for the 5k is $35 for people up to 64 years of age and $25 for seniors 65 and older. Participants in the 5k will receive a T-shirt.

Registration for the 1-mile fun run is $10 per a person and $25 for a family. Fun-run participants do not receive a T-shirt, but can purchase one at the event for $10.

Refreshments will be provided at the end of the event. Each 5k participant will receive a participation medal. Each age-group winner also will receive an additional award, and the runner wearing the most festive costume will win a special trophy.

“We highly encourage fabulous Christmas and festive attire,” said Deanne Avery, the event’s organizer. “It just amps up the holiday spirit. We have had Rudolph, Santa, nutcrackers, toy soldiers, reindeer, cousin Eddie from ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,’ a bag of coal, (the) Abominable Snowman, Yukon Cornelius, gingerbread men, cookies, bakers, Cindy Lou Who, Christmas trees, tons of elves, and more. We always look forward to these costumes. Runners can get so creative.”

Music will be performed by Rated PG, along with other music along the course. The path also will be lighted. Four to five cheer stations along the course will compete for loudest cheer and best decorated.

“With the three-loop route spanning a 1-mile distance, we will be able to dramatically enhance the music and crowd support,” Avery said. “Families will be able to see their loved one running three times as they make the loops to cheer on their runner.”

This event was first held in 2012 after FUMC members thought it would be a fun way to raise funds for missions in the community. Last year, 266 runners and walkers participated in the event, along with their friends and families.

“Each year, the Night of Light Team votes on the charity partner for the year,” Avery said. “This year, the committee selected the Southmountain Children’s Home, First United Methodist Church missions and the Family Relief Fund.”

The following are financial sponsors for the event:

» Strava

» Silver Creek Restaurant

» Workout Anytime 24/7

» Gragg Orthodontics

» Small and Martin Orthodontics

» Morganton Eye Physician’s PA and Surgery Center

» Dr. Amy Brooks PLLC

» Mobile Services

» John Greene Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM

» Bowers Nationwide Insurance

» Case Farms Chicken

» Fonta Flora Brewery

» Sossoman Funeral Home

» Mountain Burrito

» McCombs and Hoke Real Estate

» Fatz Café

» Arby’s

» Sum Storage

» Slope Solutions and Landscapes

» Grandfather Mountain

» Walmart

» Crazy Compression

» Papa Johns

» Grady Homestead

“Through the generous donations from our community supporters and sponsors; the registrations of our amazing runners, walkers and all our participants; and the hard work and dedication of our amazing group of volunteer race organizers, we are able to make great financial impacts by returning charitable gifts to the community,” Avery said.

To register or for information, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/Morganton/NightofLight5KandFamily FunRun, or call FUMC at 828-437-0921. Participants also can register in person at FUMC.

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Barbara Jolly-Deakle is a News Herald correspondent and a member of the Morganton Writers Group. She can be reached at BabbyWrites@CompasCable.net.

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