Thursday, July 4, 2013

Capital City Kiwanis brings the Firecracker 5000 to Tallahassee

Firecracker 5000During a morning break in the July 4 rainfall on Thursday, some 182 athletes managed to get in a 3.1-mile race on the trails of Tallahassee's Phipps Park, the 31st annual Firecracker 5K. The fastest was Roger Schmidt of Capital City Runners, who splashed his way to an 18:22 win, 16 seconds ahead of runner-up Jasen Fulghum. The fastest master runner in the race was Tony Guillen, third overall in 19:04. Katie Showman placed tenth overall in 20:53 to take the women's title, while Caroll Hageseth was the first female master runner, 37th overall in 24:36.

Firecracker 5000The 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.

Firecracker 5000Next 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.

Roger SchmidtBy 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.

Firecracker 5000
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.

Katie ShowmanThe 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
    Brian Molen
  1. 18:21.03 ~ Roger Schmidt (M, 22) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 18:37.59 ~ Jasen Fulghum (M, 29) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 19:03.03 ~ Tony Guillen (M, 44) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 19:23.39 ~ Brian Molen (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 19:57.46 ~ Michael Kennett (M, 39) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 20:06.94 ~ Michael Savage (M, 56) Tallahassee, FL
  7. 20:09.46 ~ Robert Abellera (M, 20) Pensacola, FL
  8. 20:31.86 ~ Bing Xu (M, 45) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 20:38.20 ~ Duane Evans (M, 46) Crawfordville, FL
  10. 20:57.23 ~ Michael LaBossiere (M, 47) Tallahassee, FL

Top Ten Females, 2013 Capital City Kiwanis Firecracker 5K
    Renee Cox
  1. 20:52.44 ~ Katie Showman (F, 31) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 21:28.87 ~ Renee Cox (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 21:32.71 ~ Kate Harrison (F, 21) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 22:43.19 ~ Ashley Daily (F, 26) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 24:39.58 ~ Molly McCann (F, 14) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 23:41.95 ~ Lori Richardson (F, 27) Thomasville, GA
  7. 24:21.03 ~ Emily Molen (F, 11) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 24:25.60 ~ Urska Dobersek (F, 30) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 24:35.46 ~ Caroll Hageseth (F, 49) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 25:37.06 ~ Martha Bademan (F, 29) Tallahassee, FL

Recent winners of the Firecracker 5000m
4 July 201318:22, Roger Schmidt20:53, Katie Showman
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
4 July 199416:07, Gary Droze18:19, Lisa Herman
4 July 199016:55, Bill Crooks19:10, Vikki Saga
4 July 198817:02, 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

Phipps Park.


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