Firecracker 5K Race-Day Guide


Welcome, racers! We’re thrilled that you’ll be joining us for the 2018 Firecracker 5K, One-Mile Fun Run, and Kids’ 100-Meter Dash! Read on to get all the important info so that you’re ready for the big day, Tuesday, July 4! Please be sure to check back here for updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

last updated 29 June 2018


Packet Pick-Up

You will have 2 opportunities to pick up your packet:

Please note that goodie bags will only be available during the Tuesday, July 3 packet pickup.

You may indeed pick up someone else’s race packet for them, but please make sure that they’re aware you are doing so!

Spavia will also be on hand at Packet Pick-Up, raffling off a fabulous gift basket which will include a pair of the American flag Goodr run sunglasses and other Spavia goodies. Sleep in a little on the 4th and treat yourself to some goodies by joining us for Packet Pick-Up on Tuesday night!

Directions and Details

The 2017 Firecracker 5K, One-Mile Fun Run, and Kids’ 100-Meter Dash will be held in downtown Ann Arbor. The starting line will be located at the corner of 4th and Liberty.


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.


Race-Day Schedule

6:30 AM — Packet Pick-Up and Race-Day Registration open

7:30 AM — Pre-race yoga with Kelli Harrington from Red Yoga

7:45 AM — Packet Pick-Up and Race-Day Registration close

8:00 AM — Kids’ Dash starts

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, Firecracker 5K: Old Glory division, and Mile Fun Run start

8:30 AM — Post-race snack area opens

9:00 AM — Awards are available for pick up, grab and go style so you can get to the parade!

Race Day extra: Face Painting by Leah will offer complimentary face painting on race morning to anyone with a Firecracker race bib! Be sure to look for her!


We will have pacers from the Ann Arbor Track Club there to help our classic Firecracker 5K participants meet their finish-time goals! Our pacers will be running at the following paces: 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00. Look for their signs when the 5K lines up!


Lining Up for Your Race

To keep the Firecracker 5K events fun and safe for all, we ask that those planning to run their distance line up near the starting line according to pace, with the fastest competitors at the front and those who are less fast further back from the starting line. Those planning to walk their distance will then line up behind the runners. If you are participating with a stroller, please be sure to read our policies regarding strollers on our Policies page.


Kids’ Dash

Our Kids’ Dash is for children ages 8 and under only. Parents, please stay on the sidelines or just beyond the finish line to photograph and cheer your runner on, then meet your child just beyond the finish line. Our professional sports photographer will be taking photos of our Kids’ Dash participants, so feel free to just cheer on your child and please be careful not to step in front of the photographic equipment. Thank you!

All Kids’ Dash participants are invited to ride on or march alongside the Epic Races float in the Fourth of July Parade!


Running with a Flag: The Old Glory Division

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 an 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.

Participants whose flags do not meet these guidelines will be transferred to the classic Firecracker 5K division.

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.


Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest Specifics

Contestants in our Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest Division will be expected to eat 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/or 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. All Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest competitors will begin their 5K run together. 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 femaleRay’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.

  • Please note that Special Dietary Needs contestants are not eligible for the Grand Champion titles

Ray’s Red Hots will be supplying all of the hot dogs for our hot dog eating contest, and will also have their cart set up at our finish line for those who choose to eat their hot dog after the race. If you think you may want one, I suggest you stash a little cash in your pocket! (We will also have other treats for you at no additional cost including our traditional Bomb Pops, Starbucks Coffee Smoothies, and Noosa Yogurt.)

Race Details

Race Bibs

The Firecracker 5K uses individual timing tags that are affixed to the back of each bib number. Leave the tags on the back of your bib number — the tags are your timing device for this race! — and wear the bib number securely fastened to your front torso so that it is clearly visible on the outside of your clothing. This is a single-use bib number.

Bib Quick Tips:

  • Bib number must be clearly visible on the front and outside of your clothing
  • Bib number is unaltered and unmodified (do not fold, wrinkle, or alter the bib in any way or remove the back tag)
  • Bib number is pinned in all four corners, securely fastened to your outer layer of clothing
  • Bib number is not covered (by jackets, runner belts, water bottles, etc.)
  • Bib number is non-transferable and must be worn by the person to whom it is assigned.


Participants must cross the start line during the official start time of the Firecracker 5K. Participants who begin before the official start time or who cross after the starting mats have been removed from the finish line will not receive an official time.

Results for the Firecracker 5K will be posted within six hours of the race’s completion. To find your results, go to the Firecracker 5K website and click the Results tab at the top right of the page.


Join Our Instagram Contest!

Be sure to join our Instagram photo contest. Share your festive attire, fabulous selfie, or short video. Just use the hashtag #epicjuly4. Go to @epicraces on Instagram for more details!

Course Details


Our 5K course is officially certified by USATF. Click the blue Course Maps button on the Firecracker 5K web page to view the certification map.

Aid Stations

There will be one hydration station on the race course

Running with Your Dog

For insurance and safety reasons and to ensure everyone’s enjoyment of the Firecracker 5K, One-Mile Fun Run, and Kids’ Dash, dogs are not permitted on the course.

Running with Your Stroller

Epic Races welcomes parents with jogging strollers to participate in our running events. Please note that, if you are participating with a stroller, you may only jog, not race. All jogging-stroller participants are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow our Policies regarding stroller use in our events.


Every Firecracker 5K, Mile Fun Run, and Kids’ Dash finisher receives a gorgeous finisher’s medal.

5K  Awards will also be presented to:

  •  1st Overall Male and Female
  • 1st Overall Masters (40+) Male and Female
  • Top 5 finishers in each age division

Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest Awards:

  •  1st Overall Male and Female will each receive a Grand Champion belt and be invited back next year to defend their title!

The overall winners of the 5K and the Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest will receive their awards during our Awards Ceremony.

Age-group winners may pick up their awards at our awards table once results are posted. This way, we’ll be able to clear out in time for the parade!

We will again be awarding the Tortoise and the Hare awards this year!

Hare Award: worst negative splits

Tortoise Award: best negative splits. (awards will be mailed out after an analysis of the final results!)

I Run 4 Buddy Medals

If you ordered an extra finisher’s medal for your I Run 4 buddy, your buddy medal will be mailed to you separately.

Race Photos

Be sure to smile for our photographers from Greg Sadler Photography on the course and as you come across the finish line! All of our Firecracker participants receive free downloads of their race photos… just another reason our races are so Epic!

Ditch the Discomfort

If you experience any aches, strains, or pain during your training or race, contact our friends at Probility Physical Therapy for a free injury assessment.