The Firecracker 5K wasn't supposed to happen this year. Since 1983 the Greensboro Kiwanis had hosted the race annually on the road from Sycamore to Greensboro, treating the runners to breakfast after the race. But when the registration forms came out for the 2012 race, the event was labeled as the 30th and last. After 30 years, anyone would get tired of cooking breakfast for over a hundred guests.
The Capital City Kiwanis stepped into the gap, taking the race to Tallahassee. Where in Tallahassee, though, was still a problem. Cascades Park wasn't finished yet. Tom Brown Park was already overflowing with Independence Day activities. The cross-country course at Apalachee Regional Park was being renovated. Race director Cole Tessier and the Kiwanis ultimately settled on Phipps Park. With minor tweaks, an existing two-loop, five-kilometer course in the park seemed suitable for the race.
Next it was the weather's turn to weigh in. Rain fell on Tallahassee each of the first three days of July, including a record 2.53" the day before the race. A stream appeared, flowing across one corner of the course, about a kilometer from the start.
"It was up to my knees," said race volunteer Bill Lott.
By the morning of the race, though, the stream had shrunk to an ankle-deep pool, and over 200 athletes were in the park for either the 5K or the one-mile kids run. All the problems went away just after 7:30 AM when the starting siren sounded.
A kilometer into the race, the first time the runners splashed through the pool of rainwater, a group of four was out in front of the rest of the field, with Roger Schmidt setting the pace. 2007 Firecracker 5K champion Tony Guillen was with the leaders, as was 2002 champion Jasen Fulghum and University of West Florida distance runner Robert Abellera.
Abellera tried to stay with Schmidt through the first of two loops around the course, but after that he was done. By the second time through the rainwater pool, about three kilometers into the race, Fulghum and Guillen were the only ones chasing Schmidt. Neither caught him; Schmidt was home first in 18:22. Fulghum shook off Guillen to take second in 18:38, while Guillen hung on to finish third in 19:04.
The women's competition was close in the early going, with Katie Showman, Renee Cox, and Kate Harrison all taking their first splash through the rainwater pool at the same time. After that, it was all Showman's race, as the Florida State economics professor drew steadily away to take the women's title in 20:53. Cox likewise ran away from Harrison, but took a wrong turn just a few meters from the finish line. It was enough of an error to make things interesting, but not enough to cost Cox a place. Cox still finished second in the women's standings, 13th overall in 21:29. Harrison was the third woman in, placing 14th overall in 21:33.
No one is willing to say exactly where the Firecracker 5K will be next year, but Cole Tessier and the Kiwanis are confident they’ll have the race back on July 4, 2014, somewhere in Tallahassee.
Top Ten Males, 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- 18:21.03 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 22) Tallahassee, FL
- 18:37.59 ~ Jasen Fulghum (M, 29) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:03.03 ~ Tony Guillen (M, 44) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:23.39 ~ Brian Molen (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
- 19:57.46 ~ Michael Kennett (M, 39) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:06.94 ~ Michael Savage (M, 56) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:09.46 ~ Robert Abellera (M, 20) Pensacola, FL
- 20:31.86 ~ Bing Xu (M, 45) Tallahassee, FL
- 20:38.20 ~ Duane Evans (M, 46) Crawfordville, FL
- 20:57.23 ~ Michael LaBossiere (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL
Top Ten Females, 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- 20:52.44 ~ Katie Showman (F, 31) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:28.87 ~ Renee Cox (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
- 21:32.71 ~ Kate Harrison (F, 21) Tallahassee, FL
- 22:43.19 ~ Ashley Daily (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
- 24:39.58 ~ Molly McCann (F, 14) Tallahassee, FL
- 23:41.95 ~ Lori Richardson (F, 27) Thomasville, GA
- 24:21.03 ~ Emily Molen (F, 11) Tallahassee, FL
- 24:25.60 ~ Urska Dobersek (F, 30) Tallahassee, FL
- 24:35.46 ~ Caroll Hageseth (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL
- 25:37.06 ~ Martha Bademan (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL
|Recent winners of the Firecracker 5000m|
|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 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
- Complete results of the 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of the 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- Fred Deckert's photos of the 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- 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"
- Map of the course for the 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
- Find more historic races in the region on the Trouble Afoot! calendar