The 32nd annual Arbutus Firecracker 10K, set to go off on Friday, July 4 at 8 a.m. at Arbutus Middle School, is the beginning of a day of community bonding that George Kendrick looks forward to like a little kid.
Kendrick, 91, gave the full-time duties as race organizer to his daughter, Valerie Stocksdale, but he still stays close to the action and will be one of the most recognized consultants at the race.
“I’m just a person that stands by in case she needs help,” he said. “I’m along for the ride.”
It has been a ride of joy for 32 years for the Benson Avenue resident, and he can’t wait for this year’s event.
“I look forward to that likes a kid does for Christmas,” Kendrick said.
Five churches will set up water stops along the 6.2-mile course that begins and ends at Arbutus Middle School, although it appears temperatures will be more comfortable than they typically are on the 4th of July.
Stocksdale didn’t limit her involvement to just organizing the event — she also will be running in it.
Last year, she finished in 1:13.07 on a hot, humid day, but she is more concerned with raising the number of participants than lowering her time.
Last year, the race had 538 entrants and was won for the second year in a row by 2009 Catonsville High graduate Ty Stump, who has run in the the past seven races.
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” said Stump after winning the 2013 race in a time of 33:58.1.
Megan DiGregorio, a 2006 graduate of Perry Hall, won the women’s race in 39:13.
The top 10 women were: Allison Letourneau (40:22.2), Megan McNew (41:25.4), Denise Knickman (42:50.8), Shannon Hoffman (43:12.6) Julie Wolfe (44:12.1), Kay Borleis (44:13.9), Lisa Levers (44:31.7), Megan Wiedman (46:16.5) and Sandra Gallagher-Mohler (46:29.9).
The top 10 males were: Flowers Jackson (35:31.4), Adam Driscoll (35:34.5) Chris Sams (35:40.4), Jesse Stump (36:23.3), Peter Randial (36:58.4), Julian Rivera (37:22.9), Jason Miller 37:29.6), Chris Chattin (37:37.7) and Brooks Michael (37:42.9).
It's also a race for competitors such as Halethorpe resident Scott Roper, 58, a 1972 Lansdowne High graduate who has run every one of the 31 races and has the T-shirts to prove it.
He participated in the past two with his daughters, Julianne Roper and Emily Slusher, and his son, Kurt Roper.
Western Tech football coach Alan Lagon has run the race several times in the past 10 years and will be back on Friday.
“It’s a good race and the Arbutus community does a great job,” Lagon said. The Arbutus resident finished in 52.20.4 last year.
“I am running it, but I’m not winning it,” he said. “My goal is to finish. It is a challenging course.”
The first 450 registered runners get a T-shirt.
An award of $150 will be given to the first male and female age-group winners.
Age groups are 19-and-under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-and-over.
The second-place finishers in each age group will receive $75 and the third-place runner gets $50.