March 19, 2019

Lighting the fuse

Firecracker 5k Fun Run sparks Independence Day celebration

June 30, 2011

By Luke Baynes

The fuse has been lit and it’s set to go off Sunday at 6 p.m., when men and women of all ages lace up their running shoes and pound the Williston pavement in the annual Firecracker 5k Fun Run.

The race will begin and end on the bike path behind Williston Central School. The course forms a loop that will take runners on North Williston, Mountain View and Old Stage roads. Although the area will not be closed to traffic prior to the event, police cruisers will escort runners on the road section of the course.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Finnegan, who is in his 11th year of organizing the race, said the event normally averages 200 participants, with more people usually showing up in fair weather conditions. He added that although it does attract some serious runners, for the most part it’s just about having a good time.

“We call it a ‘fun run’ and I’d say 90 percent of the people there are doing it for fun, but we definitely get some that run it to win it or that are looking to beat their time,” said Finnegan. “We get some folks that it’s the only 5k they run all year long, so they like to see how they do from year to year.”

Trophies will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in each of the seven age groups, ranging from 12-and-under to 50-and-over. There will also be a special category for families that want to run as a group.

Ben Rose, a Williston resident who took top honors in the men’s 50-and-over category last year, is certainly a runner who’s in it to win it, but the race means a lot more to him than prizes.

“I run every year because my wife and I first met each other on July 3, 1980, about an hour before the first annual Williston Firecracker Fun Run,” Rose said. “So our family is deeply connected to the Fun Run and I try not to miss it.”

Finnegan agreed that it’s the family aspect of the event that makes it special.

“A lot of times, you get to see kids who are now grown and the Fourth of July is when they come back, and this is something they traditionally do as a family so it’s kind of neat that way,” said Finnegan.

Race registration begins July 3 at 4:45 p.m. at the Williston Community Park Field House. The cost of registration is $8 and includes a T-shirt. Awards will be handed out during the Williston Town Band concert and Ice Cream Social, which begins at 7 p.m. on the village green in front of Williston Central School.

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