Record Breaking Crowd Attends Mifflinburgs Annual Fourth of July 5K
BY JACOB TANNER
MIFFLINBURG, PA--By Wednesday morning, on July 4th, a record-breaking crowd of over 640 people had registered for Mifflinburgs 4th of July 5K Race. People began lining up around 7:30 a.m. for registration until the Mifflinburg Park was soon bustling with excitement and nervous anticipation, in spite of the heat. This annual race, held on Independence Day each year, is a perfect opportunity for families to spend some quality, fun-filled time together. Some people brought their whole families along to run the race with them and some family members stood on the sidelines for support, waving and cheering their loved ones on. Many sported patriotic and festive outfits, such as over-sized hats patterned after the American flag and buttons resembling the flag. The early morning weather started off hot and humid, but with a nice and refreshing breeze blowing casually on all of the attendees. Before the race began, each person proudly saluted the American flag, beautifully flowing with the breeze in the center of the park, while the National Anthem played. But once the horn blew at 9 a.m. sharp, the race was on.
As the sun blared down without discrimination on each runner, it was obvious from the start that the best strategy would be to pace oneself. As every interviewed runner agreed, the best advice for anyone looking to run this race next year is to pace yourself and stay hydrated. The course itself starts in the Mifflinburg Park and wraps back around to finish in the park. At one point, a large hill must be traversed, which any runner can attest to being the most difficult part of the course. As 16-year-old Sam Payson shared, I started out slow and saved my energy for the big hill at the end. This is my second year, so I knew about the hill. I enjoy this race a lot and plan on coming back. My advice to anyone coming next year is to stay hydrated. Paysons strategy paid off immensely as he finished in tenth place with a time of 19:02.
For the second year in a row, and to the great applause of those standing by the finish line, Theo Reynolds of Watsontown, PA, emerged victorious in first place with an astounding time of 16:57, chopping off eleven seconds from his victory time of 17:08 from last year, and was nearly a full minute ahead of second-place runner, Kip Hoffman, who finished with a time of 17:52. Reynolds time is even more impressive when taking the hot weather into consideration.
Kalyn Fisher proudly crossed the finish line with a time of 18:45 to take first place in the woman's group. She ran hard and strong, and her efforts paid off as she ended up with one of the top ten times of the day overall.
One of the biggest cheers of the day came when a young man crossed the finish line with the letters "TNT" painted large in red across his chest. Fourteen-year-old Quincy Amabile leapt over the finish line with a time of 18:26 to take sixth place overall in the race, and to finish with the fastest time for the 16-and-under age group. The letters written across his chest were a perfect indication of how he would run the race, as he blasted past the other competitors just as an explosion would.
Runners from all around Pennsylvania seemed to have come to participate in this holiday event and be part of this incredible crowd. Mifflinburgs own 18-year-old Justin Hafer was on hand for the event and finished with a time of 21:46. When asked of the race, he had this to say, This was the worst year as far as heat was concerned. It was excruciating out there. Everyone should be using sun protection of some sort. But I am very excited and enthusiastic about the crowd and my time. He was later very disappointed when he found he would not be receiving an award. David Boyer was another competitor impressed by the turnout. This is the most amount of people I have seen here, he kindly shared. When asked what he thought of running the race itself, he responded, Its pretty cool. I dont run much and hardly practiced. Anyone can do this.
Hailee Miller was slightly less enthusiastic about the crowd of people and her time of 35 minutes. Im shocked by the amount of people here. Im happy I finished the race, but Im disappointed. Im going to work to improve my time for next year. A shocked disappointment seemed to be the sentiment shared by a few other racers as well. But they still seemed to have a great time.
Everyone involved seemed to enjoy themselves immensely and voiced approval and a strong desire to compete once again next year. Following the race and awards ceremony, festivities continued on in the park for the rest of the day, starting with a childrens fun-run, Pet Parade, live-music, and a fireworks display later on that evening.
Runners Gazettes own Freddi Carlip was on hand for the race as part of the race committee, taking care of some of the race duties and responsibilities.
Refreshments and watermelon were served at a table near the finish line. The community pool was also open and free of charge to each registered runner, and many took advantage of the pool to cool off after running the race. Awards were handed out to the top finishers of each respective age group and to the overall male and female winners.
1.Theo Reynolds 16:56