Tyler Muse may have been one of the later runners to sign up for the Arbutus Firecracker 10K race on July 4, but he was first to the finish line in the 37th annual event.
On the muggy holiday morning, Muse was the fastest overall finisher at the race which began and ended at Arbutus Middle School.
He traversed the 6.2 mile course in a time of 32:30, which translated to a pace of 5:14 per mile.
The race featured 488 entrants and 455 runners finished. Last year, 389 entered and 359 finished.
The heat and humidity was a factor well before the race even started, according to race director Martin Goode.
"I got up at 3 in the morning to go over to the school to start setting up and it was already 78 and really thick, so I knew we were going to be in trouble,” Goode said.
Thankfully, the community responded with sprinklers and hoses along the hilly course.
“What I really want to stress is the amount of sprinklers that are out on the course,” Goode said. “The Arbutus community just did the race really proud. They did a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful job.”
Muse was a first-time winner and he came from Harford County.
Jeremy Ardanuy (33:15), Dave Berdan (33:47), Jim Hellman (34:18), Patrick Hanley (34:42), Dustin Meeker (35:11), Adam Sachs (35:37), Ryan Stasiowski (35:56), Gavin Gibson (36:09) and Kevin Ford (36:09) rounded out the top 10 male finishers.
Meeker won the race last year in 34:10 and Berdan captured the open title from 2015 through 2017 and has won it six times since 2007.
The male age group winners included: William Tripp (18-and-under, 37:23), Gibson (19-22), Muse (23-26), Stasiowski (27-30), Ford (31-34), Berdan (35-38), Steve Monnier (39-42, 39:22), Jason Tripp (male masters 40+, 47-50, 36:43), Brendan Lilley (43-46, 37:25), David Phipps (male masters 50+, 55-58, 40:09), Jerry Henderson (51-54, 41:21), Bill Kelvey (59-62, 47:26), Maurice Pointer (male masters 60+, 63-66, 41:28), Bruce Wentworth (67-70, 51:29) and Ronnie Wong (71+, 59:33).
Goode was overly impressed with masters champion Tripp.
“He was an absolute beast," Goode said.
Wong, 71, a Singapore native who has lived in Catonsville since 1988 and has completed over 300 marathons, completed the course in under an hour.
He completed his 300th marathon on Patriots Day at the Boston Marathon in 2015.
Another veteran of the race was local resident Scott Roper, who has run in every race since it started and finished this year in 1:09.27, which placed him 302nd.
The winner of the female race was Hannah Cocchiaro who, like Muse, was victorious for the first time. The Columbia resident clocked in at 37:37 and was on a 6:05 mile pace.
Maura Linde (39:11), Jackie Range (39:22), Caroline Bauer (40:23), Megan DiGregorio (42:29), Suzanne Jakes (42:37), Melanie Rebechi (43:41), Denise Knickman (44:10), Kate Deanehan (44:53) and Haley Kappey (45:25) completed the top 10 for the females.
The age group winners included Catonsville High’s Jessica McDivitt (51:10, 18-and-under), Kappey (19-22), Linde (23-26), Cocchiaro (27-30), DiGregorio (31-34), Jackie Range (35-38, 39:22), Deanehan (39-42), Knickman (female masters, 40+, 50+ and 51-54), Deb Hicks (43-46, 47:32), Shelli Beard (47-50, 50:07), Karin Wagner Walker (55-58, 50:11), Nelda Clelland (59-62 and female masters 60+, 57:14), Cynthia Evans (63-66, 1:01.21), Maria Shields (67-70, 1:01.52) and Nancy Berger (71+, 1:25.14).
Goode took over as race director last year for Valerie Stocksdale, who had recently taken the reigns from her father, George Kendrick, who was director for the inaugural race in 1983. Kendrick passed away last year.
In his first year as race director in 2018, Goode had to alter the route for the runners after a water main break ruined part of the course early on the morning of the race.
“I’m really ecstatic because the race went off well, no water main breaks, no issues, it’s hot, but what am I going to do,” Goode said. “The amenities were great, people liked the medals and they liked the hot dogs and the snowballs.”
To avoid the extreme heat, Goode is thinking about changing the start time for next year’s race.
“I’m beginning to throw it around with the police if we could do a 7 o’clock start, so that could be in the horizon,” he said.