Firecracker Frenzy

Every summer, the Firecracker 5K has three strikes against it, all completely out of their control.

1. Suffocating heat / humidity.

2. Downtown construction that alters the course.

3. Stiff race competition / townies fleeing Ann Arbor for a weekend getaway.

Despite the obstacles, Firecracker always manages to draw a mammoth crowd by being so damn FUN. Whether you are there as a runner, spectator, or shameless race promoter, this race knows how to find your endorphin zones.

Here are a few sights and sounds from Thursday’s race:

As per usual, Brian Harreld assembled a crack team of pacers to keep runners on target.


651 runners ran in this year’s 5K. Eleven carried the flag in the Old Glory division, and eight brave souls competed in the hot dog eating contest.


So many stars, stripes, and sweaty runners at the start line.

Maybe I have such warm and fuzzies about Firecracker because it proved to be a marketing boon for our race last year. After passing out post cards in 2018, our web traffic soared, and registrations got a much needed shot in the arm.

This year, Steph and I set up camp early, ready to shill out for our event. When it came time to hand out post cards, it was clear that runners were more familiar with our race.

Over and over, we heard things like “I’ll be there,” and “Our family is putting together a relay team.”


Evidence that karma is a real thing. Co-race director Steph Evans placed in her age group after working her butt off behind the scenes for Gallup Gallop.


Local legend Larry O'Sullivan is the undisputed Firecracker 5K king.

The line between patriotic and ironic is always blurred at Firecracker 5K.


Ethical dilemma… what do you do when the course is over 100M short and the men’s winner sets a “course record?”

Asking for a friend…

Gabby Ring continued her summer of domination with another win this Thursday. It turns out that when you train like a maniac and stay healthy, your times improve dramatically.


DXA2 and Firecracker 5K may be over, but there is still a lot of prime time racing ahead of us this summer.

See you at Dart For Art Monday, July 15.

Brent McDermott