Garcia took off early in the race. How fast a start did he get? When the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the American Revolutionary War had already been going on for a year, and a peace treaty was still seven years away. If Washington’s Continental Army had started as fast as Garcia, the war would have been over before the awful winter at Valley Forge and Benedict Arnold wouldn’t have had time to become a traitor. Garcia was leading right after the start, and seemed uncatchable when he passed the mile mark in 5:16. As it turned out, he was uncatchable, getting farther and farther ahead as the course wound around Cascades Park. And wind it did.
“There were a lot of turns,” said Garcia. “I felt like a snake. It reminded me of indoor track.”
Garcia doesn’t like indoor track.
He does have some affection for outdoor track, though, especially the 1500 meters and the mile. The middle distances are in his near-future racing plans. "I'm running at the Ernie Sims meet, the 1500. I'm really looking forward to that."
While Garcia was cruising by the mile mark in 5:16, Tallahassee master runner Michael Martinez was back in fifth place. Martinez overtook fellow master Geb Kiros, then passed Adam Greenstein and Ryan Truchelut to move into the second spot. Chasing Martinez, Carl Nordhielm was also moving up through the field. While Garcia got the win in 17:06, Martinez held off Nordhielm to finish runner-up in 17:42. Nordhielm was third in 17:50, and Geb Kiros fourth in 18:05. Adam Greenstein outkicked Reikan Lin for fifth, 18:07 to 18:09.
The Firecracker 5K wasn’t Katie Slater’s first race in Tallahassee. While competing for Estero High, in just the past year Slater had raced an 18:38 5K at the FSU Cross-Country Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park, raced there again in the State Finals, and posted a 5:07.71 for 1600 and a 2:18.20 for 800 on the Mike Long Track in April's FSU Relays. The Firecracker 5K should be just the first of many more Tallahassee races for Slater, who has signed to run for Coach Karen Harvey’s Lady Seminoles.
Slater arrived at Cascades Park on the morning of the race with two other Florida State athletes, Carly Thomas and Leon Araceli. All three were soon far ahead of the rest of the women’s field, with Slater leading both Thomas and Araceli. Slater steadily widened the gap, taking the women’s title in 18:58. Thomas broke away from Araceli during the second half of the race to finish second in the women’s standings, placing 19th overall in 19:44. Araceli was the third woman finisher, 23rd overall in 20:04. Jillian Heddaeus finished fourth on the women’s side, 27th overall in 20:44. The top woman master was Paula O’Neill, 48th overall in 22:43.
It was the first year that the Firecracker was run in Cascades Park, and the second year that the race was held in Tallahassee. For thirty years the Greensboro Kiwanis staged the race annually in Gadsden County. The Greensboro club hosted their last Firecracker in 2012, and the Capital City Kiwanis took over in 2013, moving the race to Cascades in 2014. The record 431 finishers seems to indicate that the new venue is a hit, although the course may need some work. After all, no one wants Joseph Garcia to feel like a snake.
Top Ten Men, 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- 17:06 ~ Joseph Garcia (M, 18)
- 17:42 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
- 17:50 ~ Carl Nordheilm (M, 51)
- 18:05 ~ Geb Kiros (M, 47)
- 18:07 ~ Adam Greenstein (M, 23)
- 18:09 ~ Reikan Lin (M, 24)
- 18:21 ~ Sean Hudson (M, 44)
- 18:25 ~ Ryan Truchelut (M, 28)
- 18:26 ~ Drew Hart (M, 17)
- 18:34 ~ Tony Guillen (M, 45)
Top Ten Women, 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- 18:58 ~ Katie Slater (F, 18)
- 19:44 ~ Carly Thomas (F, 20)
- 20:04 ~ Leon Araceli (F, 18)
- 20:44 ~ Jillian Heddaeus (F, 31)
- 22:27 ~ Tiffany Roddenberry (F, 29)
- 22:32 ~ Urska Dobersek (F, 31)
- 22:43 ~ Paula O' Neill (F, 53)
- 23:14 ~ Jamie Williams (F, 28)
- 23:36 ~ Holley Campbell (F, 16)
- 23:51 ~ Tsige Tadesse (F, 41)
|Recent winners of the Firecracker 5000m|
|4 July 2014||17:06, Joseph Garcia||18:58, Katie Slater|
|4 July 2013||18:22, Roger Schmidt||20:53, Katie Showman|
|4 July 2012||16:14, Stanley Linton||22:36, Nancy Stedman|
|4 July 2011||17:20, Joel Piotrowski||21:35, Stephanie Stout|
|3 July 2010||18:45, Cliff Skelton||22:29, Nancy Stedman|
|4 July 2009||16:46, Daniel Lee||19:26, Emily Ness|
|4 July 2008|
|4 July 2007||18:05, Tony Guillen||21:51, Julie Clark|
|4 July 2006||17:40, James Cook||20:03, Julia Vola|
|4 July 2005||16:44, Jeff Dubias||20:30, Heather Bailey|
|3 July 2004||15:48, Caleb Carmichael||18:39, Kara Newell|
|4 July 2003|
|4 July 2002||16:57, Jason Fulghum||22:07, Janice Hochstein|
|4 July 2001||17:22, Paul Hoover||17:53, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4 July 2000||15:57, Gary Droze||18:10, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4 July 1999||16:37, Tim Simpkins||17:56, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4 July 1998||16:05, Damian Wilson||17:35, Sarah Docter-Williams|
|4 July 1997|
|4 July 1996||15:45, Gary Droze||19:13, Carrie Weyant|
|4 July 1994||16:07, Gary Droze||18:19, Lisa Herman|
|4 July 1990||16:55, Bill Crooks||19:10, Vikki Saga|
|4 July 1989||16:47, Paul Hoover||20:27, Mae Cleveland|
|4 July 1988||17:02, Paul Hoover|
|From 1983 to 2012 the Firecracker 5000 was run in Gadsden County|
from Sycamore to Greensboro.
In 2013 the Firecracker 5000 was run in Tallahassee on trails in
In 2014 the Firecracker 5000 was run in Tallahassee from Cascades
Park on a USATF Certified Course.
- Complete results of the 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- 2013 story, "Capital City Kiwanis brings the Firecracker 5000 to Tallahassee"
- 2012 story, "Out with a bang, the final Firecracker 5K"
- 2011 story, "Banging good runs for Piotrowski and Stout at Firecracker 5000"
- 2010 story, "Skelton and Stedman win at Greensboro"
- USATF course certification map for the 2014 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- Find more classic races in the region on the Trouble Afoot! calendar