Carter’s Run is more than a just a race…  Yes, there’s a 10K, a 5K, a kid’s fun run, and there’s even a Family Fun Fest to help entertain the little ones; but the event is much more than just a fun time for families, it’s an opportunity to honor a sweet little six-year old boy and bring awareness to Dandy-Walker and the Dandy-Walker Alliance.


Carter – photo courtesy of Shannon Abbott Photography

The race is in it’s third year and is organized by my MRTT friend Lisa and her husband Doug.  Lisa and Doug always knew they wanted to have an event to honor their son Carter, and a 5K seemed like the perfect event because road races are so popular.  Lisa recruited four girlfriends to help her and Doug brainstorm.  Their main goals were to raise awareness and funds for the Dandy-Walker Alliance in hopes of one day finding a cure.


2013 – Doug with Crosby and Lisa with Carter

The first year (2012) they had around 370 runners/walkers and raised over $35,000.  Last year they had around 430 participants and raised over $51,000!  This year they would love to have 550 registered runners/walkers.  Their dream is to keep the event growing and move it to a larger location in the next couple of years.

Carter’s Run is only possible because of the dedication and hard work of Lisa’s core girlfriends and the many volunteers that give generously of their time, not just on race day, but also in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the event!


In 2012 when Lisa and Doug first organized the race, they weren’t runners.  Since then they have started racing and their love for running has made them better race organizers.  For example, Lisa said that the first year she didn’t really understand why people wanted to see a map of the course before the race.  Now she gets it!


Lisa and Doug after the Loudoun Half Marathon

Dandy-Walker Syndrome is a congenital brain malformation involving the cerebellum and the fluid filled spaces around it.  Much more detailed information about the disease can be found at the race website.   Instead, of focusing on Dandy-Walker, I want to focus on Carter…

1 in 2,500 is born with Dandy-Walker.
That’s a lot when yours is the one.

Carter was diagnosed with  Dandy-Walker when he was only 7.5-months old.  He was failing to meet age appropriate milestones such as squeezing his parents’ fingers when pressed against his palm and not holding toys.  An MRI confirmed the suspected diagnosis of Dandy-Walker.

I asked Lisa to tell me about Carter because I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him.  She told me that Carter has sensory issues that hinder his ability to eat orally so he has been tube feed since he was 11 months old; however, she says, “he’s the best-fed young man on the block” because she makes all of his food.  Since he can’t taste the food, she mixes only healthy, highly nutritious foods for him that many children his age wouldn’t like.  A typical dinner for Carter is a concoction of rice milk, sardines, quinoa, blueberries, sweet potato, avocado, coconut oil, almond butter, and spinach. No goldfish and gummy bears in that mix!  They are very hopeful that one day he will be able to eat on his own, but for now Lisa’s special mixes of healthy food and lots of motherly love keep Carter thriving.



Carter loves playing with his brothers, Oliver (4.5), and Crosby (almost 3).  They enjoy riding bikes, playing chase, and ring-around-the-Rosie together.  Carter loves to swim and splash around in the pool, and he takes both aquatic therapy classes and therapeutic horseback riding classes.  Dandy-Walker has delayed some of Carter’s development, but it hasn’t slowed him down.  He enjoys the typical things a kindergarten little boy would love… from riding the school bus, to watching movies, to going bowling and playing catch.  Carter might have to work a little harder than other children his age, but his hard work is paying off!


2013 – Carter walking the race course with his family

With a little help from Lisa and a few of our MRTT friends, I’ve pulled together pictures from the 2012 and 2013 Carter’s Runs…


2012 start


2012 – Carter with his parents and friends


2012 -MRTT friends Elizabeth and Amanda


2012 – Elizabeth pushing the jog stroller


2013 – Ashley and family


2013 MRTT ladies: Lynn, Mary, Vicki, and friends


2013 – Elizabeth and Amanda with their daughters

If you live in the DC area, and are looking for a smaller-sized family race, register for Carter’s Run.  You might even bump into a local celebrity!


Screech from the Washington Nationals

  • Questions:
  • Local runners, have you run Carter’s Run?
  • Do you prefer smaller or larger races?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?