Kick off your Fourth of July the Epic Races way: join us in downtown Ann Arbor on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 for our classic Firecracker 5K! Our 3.1-mile course gets underway at a truly red, white, and blue locale: the intersection of Fourth and Liberty. Racers 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 one of our two special holiday divisions:
Looking for a shorter distance? 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 mileage. 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 a parent) with the Epic Races float in the parade!
The Firecracker 5K is walker friendly!
We are pleased to welcome Ainsley’s Angels to this event! In addition to ensuring everyone can experience endurance events, Ainsley’s Angels of America aims to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. Serving as advocates to providing education and participating as active members in local communities, Ainsley’s Angels believes everyone deserves to be included.
Do you participate in the I Run 4 program? Click here for information about obtaining a medal for your I Run 4 buddy!
The Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run is a Leave No Trace event. Learn more about our race-day recycling and composting efforts here. Want more information about running a great race and leaving no trace? Click here to visit Happy Planet Running!
Need help to reach your 5K goals? The Ann Arbor Track Club pace team will be on hand — and foot — to assist our classic Firecracker 5K runners. Watch for their pace signs, indicating the following running 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.
The Firecracker 5K: Old Glory division is our tribute to that high-flying flag, the emblem of the land we love. Participants who register for the Old Glory division must follow the following guidelines:
Please note that the Old Glory division is its own separate category. Participants do not compete against the regular Firecracker 5K runners but rather have separate awards: First Overall Male, First Overall Female, First Masters Male, First Masters Female. Please note that participants who do not meet these guidelines will be automatically transferred to the classic 5K division.
The Firecracker 5K:Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest division is Epic Races’ tribute to the world-famous Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest in New York City. Our Ann Arbor edition consists of eating four hot dogs in buns as fast as possible, with 76 seconds being the cut-off time. After 76 seconds, contestants proceed to the starting line to start their 5K run or walk.
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. 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. All Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest contestants will then proceed to the starting line together, where they will begin their 5K as a separate division from the regular Firecracker 5K.
Unlike Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest, there are no penalties if any competitor experiences a “reversal of fortune.” The first male and female Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest 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 Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest 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 Ann Arbor Jaycees’ Fourth of July Parade with its 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.
In addition, the 2018 male and female overall and masters winners for the classic Firecracker 5K will each receive a pair of running shoes courtesy of Tortoise and Hare!
We will also have a special Tortoise Award for the best negative split and a special Hare Award for the fastest first mile. A $25 gift card to Tortoise and Hare will be given to the Overall Male and Female in each of these categories.
Each of our Mile Fun Run participants will receive:
Each of our Kids’ Dash participants will receive:
The person behind the Firecracker 5K mike will be none other than the legendary Frankie Andreu! Frankie retired from racing at the end of 2000, after a 12-year professional career that included nine Tours de France, three Tours of Spain, and one Giro d’Italia. He also competed in the 1988 and 1996 Olympic Games, placing fourth in Atlanta. Frankie has announced at international, national, and local cycling events and we are thrilled to have him — and his voice — at this year’s event!
Epic Races is pleased to offer participants race insurance through TicketGuardian. TicketGuardian’s standard insurance coverage allows you to get your money back if you are unable to attend your event due to car accidents, severe weather, family emergencies, military duty, and even medical issues. For more information on TicketGuardian race insurance and instructions on how to purchase coverage, click here.
The Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run has been endorsed by the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports. All events are part of the Pure Michigan FITness Series and qualify for the Pure Michigan FITness Challenge. For details on the Pure Michigan FITness Series and to take part in the Pure Michigan FITness Challenge, click here.
Free parking (due to the holiday) will be available in the Republic Parking lots and parking structures throughout downtown Ann Arbor. There is plenty of parking for everyone! Click here for a map of Ann Arbor parking. Please note that the course will be closed to traffic beginning at approximately 6:30 AM.
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