Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Out with a bang, the final Firecracker 5K

Stanley LintonWhen Stanley Linton crossed the finish line in Greensboro on Wednesday, 4 July 2012, he was the last champion ever of the Greensboro Kiwanis' Firecracker 5K. After 30 years the Kiwanis are closing the curtain on the race. The Kiwanis have always been active in athletics in this area. For many years, the Kiwanis High School Track & Field Meet was a Tallahassee institution. The Monticello Kiwanis continue to produce the Melon Run 5K year after year. And since 1983 the Greensboro Kiwanis hosted the Firecracker 5K each Independence day. But no more.

30th annual Firecracker 5K, 4 July 2012The athletes who lined up to start the race at 7:30 AM on Independence Day knew that this was a good-bye race. You don't always know. Athletic event are born, live, and die, but you don't usually get advance notice of their passing. In college football, a bowl might call a press conference to announce that this year's game isn't going to happen, but by then the last game has already been played. With road races, the only notice might be when the race stops being scheduled. With Greensboro's Firecracker 5K, though, the 2012 entry form and flyer clearly stated that this year's race would be the 30th and last.

Stanley Linton (1st, 16:14) and Peter Wood (2nd, 16:28) take a turn with a kilometer to go in the race.Just like all of the last 30 summers, the race started 3.1 miles away from the finish line on the Sycamore Road. The Kiwanis organized a school bus to take runners there. Soon after the start Stanley Linton was leading the field of over 130 runners. But two years earlier Linton had led most of the 2010 Firecracker 5K before finishing runner-up to Cliff Skelton. Just past the halfway mark of this year's race, as the runners climbed out of the vale of Tallahassee Creek, Peter Wood passed Linton. From the three kilometer mark to the four kilometer mark, the two struggled for the lead, but on the final kilometer Linton broke away from Wood, going on to win 16:14 to 16:28. Behind them, Matt Harwood took third in 16:43, while Jasen Fulghum was fourth in 17:06 and Peter Kaus took fifth in 17:39. Bing Xu was the fastest master runner of the morning, finishing seventh overall in 19:07.

Nancy Stedman
Master runner and 2010 Firecracker 5K women's champion Nancy Stedman got ahead of the rest of the female competitors early. Stedman held her lead to the end, going on to collect her second Firecracker win with a 22:36. Allison Thumm moved up a few places during the race to finish as the female runner-up in 22:57. At 23:37 Martha Bademan was the third woman finisher and Sara Dickson was the fourth, running 23:57.

Top Ten Men, 2012 Greensboro Firecracker 5K
  1. Matthew Harwood16:14 ~ Stanley Linton
  2. 16:28 ~ Peter Wood
  3. 16:43 ~ Matthew Harwood
  4. 17:06 ~ Jasen Fulghum
  5. 17:39 ~ Peter Kaus
  6. 18:46 ~ Paul Guyas
  7. 19:07 ~ Bing Xu
  8. 19:13 ~ Michael Kennett
  9. 19:16 ~ James Taylor
  10. 19:32 ~ Zach Weston

Top Ten Women, 2012 Greensboro Firecracker 5K
  1. Alison Thumm22:36 ~ Nancy Stedman
  2. 22:57 ~ Alison Thumm
  3. 23:37 ~ Martha Bademan
  4. 23:57 ~ Sara Dickson
  5. 24:53 ~ Sarah Dugas
  6. 24:58 ~ Sarah Purcell
  7. 25:23 ~ Sondra Lee
  8. 25:33 ~ Mary Durrance
  9. 25:40 ~ Kelsie Newman
  10. 25:56 ~ Meredith Snowden

Recent winners of the Greensboro Firecracker 5000m
4 July 201216:14, Stanley Linton22:36, Nancy Stedman
4 July 201117:20, Joel Piotrowski21:35, Stephanie Stout
3 July 201018:45, Cliff Skelton22:29, Nancy Stedman
4 July 200916:46, Daniel Lee19:26, Emily Ness
4 July 2008

4 July 200718:05, Tony Guillen21:51, Julie Clark
4 July 200617:40, James Cook20:03, Julia Vola
4 July 200516:44, Jeff Dubias20:30, Heather Bailey
3 July 200415:48, Caleb Carmichael18:39, Kara Newell
4 July 2003

4 July 200216:57, Jason Fulghum22:07, Janice Hochstein
4 July 200117:22, Paul Hoover17:53, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 200015:57, Gary Droze18:10, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 199916:37, Tim Simpkins17:56, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 199816:05, Damian Wilson17:35, Sarah Docter-Williams
4 July 1997
4 July 199615:45, Gary Droze19:13, Carrie Weyant



  1. Great write-up Herb. I was really sorry to miss this finale race (and the breakfast!). It has been a perennial favorite of mine.

  2. It's not the only race in the area that served breakfast, but it's one of a very few. The Shamrock Scurry 5K and the Breakfast on the Track Mile are the only others that I can think of.