America turns 240 this Independence Day. Commemorate this monumental occasion the Epic Races way: join us in downtown Ann Arbor on Monday, July 4 for the 2016 Firecracker 5K and Kids’ Dash! Help us paint the town red, white, and blue and exercise your right to the pursuit of happiness by pursuing better fitness and fun! Run or walk our 5K course as it winds through the heart of Tree Town USA, then stick around for the 26th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July Parade.
Kick off your Fourth of July with our classic Firecracker 5K! Our 3.1-mile course gets underway at a perfectly patriotic locale: the intersection of Fourth and Liberty. Racers will then loop around downtown and come in for a spectacular star-spangled finish in front of thousands of spectators. Add an all-American angle to your outing by opting for our Firecracker 5K: Fourth and Franks division. That’s right… it’s not the Fourth of July without hot dogs, and those who choose this challenge — up to 20 competitors — will try to chow down on four dogs in 76 seconds, then get their 5K underway. Consider it our version of the world-famous Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest, which celebrates a monumental occasion in 2016: its centennial anniversary this very July 4th.
If 5K is more than you’re ready for, try our Mile Fun Run! A relaxed, non-competitive course awaits runners and walkers of all ages who want to show their Firecracker fervor but with a little less distance. No timing… just a fun, friendly frolic through downtown on the Fourth of July!
Our littlest firecrackers are invited to make a bang all their own in our Kids’ 100-Meter Dash. Open to competitors ages 8 and under, our Kids’ Dash offers children the opportunity soar like eagles down Liberty Street, completing their race at the same finish line as Mom or Dad! Kids can continue celebrating Independence Day at the corner of State and William, where they can take part in the Children’s Bicycle-Decorating Contest, then ride their beautified bikes in the Fourth of July Parade. Kids’ Dash participants also have the option of marching (accompanied by one parent) with the Epic Races float in the parade!
All events in the Firecracker 5K and Kids’ Dash are part of the Pure Michigan FITness Series of events and are endorsed by the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports.
Our friends from the Ann Arbor Track Club will be on hand — and foot! — to help you reach your 5K goals. We are very grateful to them for providing the Firecracker 5K with pacers for our classic Firecracker 5K runners. Watch for their pace signs! There will be pacers for the following paces: 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00. Please note that you are very welcome to run or walk at your own pace but that, at 9:25 AM, all participants still on the course will need to move to the sidewalk to complete their event.
Curious about our hot-dog eating contest? The Firecracker 5K: Fourth and Franks division is Epic Races’ tribute to the world-famous Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest. Nathan’s is celebrating a monumental occasion of its own on July 4th: the 100th anniversary of its iconic Coney Island competition. Our Ann Arbor edition consists of eating four hot dogs in buns as fast as possible, with 76 seconds being the cut-off time. Contestants may bring water, if they so wish, and ketchup and mustard if they wish to dress up their dogs prior to the start of the contest. Those competing in our Special Dietary Needs subdivision will be required to bring their own hot dogs and buns to ensure their dietary restrictions are met. Time penalties, posted below, will be applied to those who do not finish all four hot dogs:
Less than 1 hot dog left — 0:15
1 hot dog left — 0:30
Less than 2 hot dogs left — 0:45
2 hot dogs left — 1:00
Less than 3 hot dogs left — 1:15
3 hot dogs left — 1:30
Less than 4 hot dogs left — 1:45
4 hot dogs left — 2:00
Any hot dog and/or bun still in a contestant’s mouth when time is up counts as eaten but must be chewed and swallowed before the participant can begin their 5K. Unlike Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest, however, there will be no penalties if any competitor experiences a “reversal of fortune.” The first male and female Fourth and Franks competitors who cross the finish line* will be crowned the Grand Champions and will receive a championship belt in the same prizewinning style of those Nathan’s presents its winners. They’ll also each receive an overall Epic Races prize, will be invited back next year to defend their title, and get to ride on the Epic Races float in the Fourth of July parade!
Please note that Fourth and Franks is its own division. Participants do not compete against the regular Firecracker 5K runners but rather have their own age groups and awards.
Once our race is done, stick around for more family fun: the 26th Annual Ann Arbor Jaycees’ Fourth of July Parade! This year’s theme, “A Monumental Occasion,” will be reflected in the many floats, costumed marchers, and other festive participants. Enjoy the children’s decorated-bike brigade and the music played by our local high-school marching bands. Be sure to keep an eye out for our Firecracker 5K overall winners, who’ll be celebrating their success with a parade-style victory lap around Ann Arbor! The Fourth of July Parade starts at 10 AM. For more information and to learn how you can participate, visit the parade web site.
Each of our Firecracker 5K and Firecracker 5K: Fourth and Franks participants will receive:
Each of our Mile Fun Run participants will receive:
Each of our Kids’ Dash participants will receive:
Watch for our friends from Body Conscious Massage Therapy after your race! They will be offering post-race sports massage to all of our participants help you recover from your race.
America’s freedom comes at a great cost. The Folded Flag Foundation serves to honor the legacy of and pay tribute to the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country. In recognition of our fallen heroes, the Folded Flag Foundation awards educational grants and scholarships to families of the U.S. military and employees of the U.S. government who have lost their lives in combat. Qualifying spouses and children under the age of 26 can apply to receive scholarships and grants to assist with a wide range of educational needs, including K-12 tuition and tuition for college or trade school. All donations go directly to these scholarships; administrative costs are fully funded by corporate underwriters. Our American heroes risk their lives to serve our country. Help honor the memories of those who have fallen by showing your support to their families in need. Your donation will help strengthen their future on behalf of those who fought and died for all Americans. To make a donation, please visit our Crowdrise page or click the blue Fundraising button at the top of this page. For more information about the Folded Flag Foundation, please visit their web site.
Epic Races recognizes the compassion, support, and friendship that exists between a runner and their I Run 4 buddy. To help your buddy feel more special, we’ve created a race add-on so that your buddy can receive his or her own Firecracker 5K medal. We applaud those runners who dedicate their miles to buddies with special needs whose conditions span the spectrum from total physical disability to developmental delays to autism spectrum disorders and more. Look for the IR4 add-on when you register for the 5K, or log into Run Sign Up to manage your registration and add the IR4 add-on. For more information on the I Run 4 program or to be matched with a buddy of your own, visit the I Run 4 web site.
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