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Firecracker 5K, Mile Fun Run, and Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest

July 4 @ 7:55 AM - 9:45 AM

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Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run
benefiting the University of Michigan Addiction Center


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:

  • The Firecracker 5K: Old Glory division. Participants in this patriotic category will run or walk their 5K proudly bearing a mounted American flag from start to finish (see below for guidelines).
  • The Firecracker 5K: Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest division. It’s simply 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 (see below for guidelines). Consider it our version of the world-famous Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest, which is held annually in New York City every Independence Day.

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!

Pre-race Yoga!

Join us on race day at 7:30 a.m for some pre-race yoga stretches with the fabulous Kelli Harrington from Red Yoga!!

AATC logoA Little Fleet-Footed Assistance

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.


You’re a Grand Old Flag-Carrying Racer

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:

  • Each participant must carry a traditional red, white, and blue American flag for the entirety of the 5K.
  • Each participant must provide his or her own American flag for this event.
  • The American flag to be carried must be a minimum of three (3) feet in height and five (5) feet in length.
  • The American flag must be mounted on a portable flag pole bearing no sharp edges or ends.
  • The American flag must never touch the ground at any point during this event.
  • The American flag and its pole must be carried with control throughout the duration of the event. Participants in the Old Glory division are expected to conduct themselves respectfully and carry the flag and pole in a safe manner, continually aware of the other participants in their vicinity.

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.


hot dog cartoon

Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest

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

Firecracker Belts

Our Firecracker 5K: Fourth and Franks Grand Champion Belts

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.


Everyone Loves a Parade!

JayceesFloatOnce 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.


Presents on America’s Birthday!

Each of our Firecracker 5K, Firecracker 5K: Fourth and Franks, and Firecracker 5K: Old Glory participants will receiv

  • Race chip timing with results posted within 6 hours
  • A gorgeous finisher’s medal
  • A super-soft, high-quality race T-shirt (shirt sizes guaranteed through June 20, 2018)
  • Free downloads of all your race photos taken by our fabulous sports-photography team at Greg Sadler Photography
  • The best post-race snacks around




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:

  • A gorgeous finisher’s medal
  • A super-soft, high-quality race T-shirt (shirt sizes guaranteed through June 20, 2018)
  • The best post-race snacks around


Each of our Kids’ Dash participants will receive:

  • A gorgeous finisher’s medal
  • A super-soft, high-quality race T-shirt (shirt sizes guaranteed through June 20, 2018)
  • The best post-race snacks around
  • The opportunity to march with a parent as part of the Epic Races float in the 4th of July Parade!


Announcer FrankieMeet Our Announcer!

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!


Our Charity Partner: the University of Michigan Addiction Center

The University of Michigan Addiction Center (UMAC) has a three-tiered mission:

  1. To conduct research that examines the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of substance use and substance-use disorders
  2. To train medical students, residents, and specialty professionals in addiction medicine and research
  3. To offer specialized outpatient treatment services through the University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services (UMATS)

You can help! Your gift will support UMAC’s work on the causes, prevention, and treatment of substance-use disorders. To learn more, visit their web site. To make a donation, click here.


Safeguard Your Entry with TicketGuardian

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.


Pure Michigan Fit!

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.


Parking Information

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.

Event Schedule

6:30 a.m. — 7:45 a.m. Packet Pick-Up and Race-Day Registration
7:30 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. Pre-race Yoga with Kelli Harrington of Red Yoga
8:00 AM — Kids' Dash
8:05 AM — Firecracker 5K:Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest division starts
8:14 AM - Ainsley's Angels start
8:15 AM — Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run start
8:30 AM — Post-Race Food Area opens
10:00 AM — Ann Arbor Jaycees' Fourth of July Parade


Male and female age divisions: 8 and under, 8, 9-11, 12-14, 15-17, 18-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80+


Firecracker 5K:

All 5K finishers receive an amazing all-American medal! Special Awards for 1st Overall Male/Female, Overall Masters (40+), and the top 5 finishers in each age division. In addition, the Overall Open and Overall Masters Male and Female winners will each receive a pair of running shoes from Tortoise and Hare and will get to ride in the Fourth of July Parade!

Firecracker 5K: Old Glory Division:

All finishers receive the most amazing all-American medal ever! Special awards will be presented to the 1st Overall Male and Female and the 1st Masters Male and Female.

Firecracker 5K: Fourth and Franks Division:

All 5K finishers receive the most amazing all-American medal ever! Special championship prize belts will be awarded to the 1st Overall Male/Female; the top 5 finishers in each age division receive a special award.

Mile Fun Run and Kids' Dash:

All Kids' Dash finishers receive the most amazing all-American medal ever!

Hotel and Camping Information

Hyatt Place Ann Arbor

(734) 995-1234
3223 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Click Here to Reserve Your Room

Special rate: Mention the Firecracker 5K to receive the special nightly rate of $119 for the night of July 3, 2018. Reservations must be made by June 3, 2018.
Distance from race: 3 miels

Firecracker 5K, Mile Fun Run, and Ray's Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest Entry Fees


Q. I signed up for the 5K but I think the mile is more my distance. Can I transfer to the mile?
A. You can switch from the 5K to the mile — or from any Firecracker event to another Firecracker event — by logging in to your Run Sign Up account, clicking the My Registered Races button, clicking Manage Registration by Firecracker 5K, then clicking the Transfer Event button and following the onscreen instructions. If you are transferring to the longer-distance event, you will be charged for the difference in price between the events. NOTE: the deadline to switch events is June 27.

Q. Can I transfer my registration to someone else?
A. Yes! Log into your Run Sign Up account, click the My Registered Races button, click Manage Registration by Firecracker 5K, then click Transfer to Another Runner and follow the onscreen instructions. There is a $15 charge to transfer your registration to another event, as well as a Run Sign Up processing fee. NOTE: the deadline to transfer your registration to another person is June 20.

Q. I can no longer attend. How do I get a refund?
A. By registering for an Epic Races event, you have purchased a ticket to participate in one of the most exhilarating and enjoyable races in Southeast Michigan. As with a ticket to any sports or entertainment event, there are no refunds if you are unable to attend. If you opted to purchase the optional TicketGuardian race insurance, please visit http://claims.ticketguardian.net/.

Q. I can no longer attend. Can I get my race shirt and medal sent to me?
A. We are happy to send you your race shirt; please send a self-addressed, large shipping envelope with $5 affixed postage and our downloadable Mailing Race Items form (found on our Policies page at http://www.epicraces.com/policies) to us at Epic Races, 600 S. Wagner Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103. However, our finisher's medals are reserved for those who complete our race.

Q. Where do I park on race morning?
A. Parking will be available at all downtown Ann Arbor parking structures and lots as well as along side streets. Parking on holidays in downtown Ann Arbor is free!

Q. What happens if it's raining on race day?
A. The Firecracker 5K will be held, rain or shine. Please be sure to dress accordingly for the weather.

Q. How many aid stations will there be?
A. There will be one aid station on the 5K course.

Q. Are jogging strollers allowed?
A. Yes! However, participants with jogging strollers may not race or run; they may only jog. Participants with strollers must remain courteous and respectful of all other participants; they must stay to the right of the course and may not weave in and out of the other participants. Children in jogging strollers must remain securely fastened in the stroller while on the course.

Q. Are dogs allowed?
A. No, dogs are not allowed on any of the event courses or in the post-race food area due to safety, security, and insurance reasons.

Q. Are headphones/ear buds allowed?
A. Yes, but we strongly encourage that you consider participating without portable music. This way, you will be able to hear the course marshals, as well as the spectators cheering for you. You will also be able to hear your fellow runners calling out that they are passing you.

Q. When will results be posted and where?
A. You'll find the results by clicking on the blue Results button at the top of this page. Results will be posted within 12 hours after the race ends.

Q. Can someone else pick up my race packet for me?
A. Yes! You can have someone pick up your packet for you if you are unable to make it to packet pick-up.

Q. My race shirt doesn't fit. Can I exchange it?
A. Yes! However, exchanges can only be done after the race and there is no guarantee of size.

Q. I left before results were posted and I won an award! How do I get it?
A. Congratulations! Awards will be available for pick-up at Tortoise and Hare, 2621 Plymouth Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 starting the Thursday following the race.


July 4
7:55 AM - 9:45 AM
Event Categories:
Event Tags:




Packet Pickup Information
Packet pick-up will be held on Tuesday, July 3 from 5 PM to 7 PM at 2/42 Community Center/ MIHQ Parking Lot (under the Epic Races Tent), 600 S. Wagner Rd. Ann Arbor, MI , and on Wednesday, July 4 from 6:30 AM until 7:45 AM at the race venue.


603 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 United States
+ Google Map
Course maps: 5K Course Map 5K Certified Course Map

All courses are subject to change up to and including race day


Year Race Results
2018 Searchable Results View Results
2017 Searchable Results View Results
2016 Searchable Results View Results
2015 5K Results View Results
2014 5K Results View Results
2013 5K Results View Results

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