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Traditional Arbutus Firecracker 10K race returns for 38th year

Runners took off at the 37th annual Arbutus Firecracker 10K in 2019. This year's race will be held on July 3 at 8 a.m.
Runners took off at the 37th annual Arbutus Firecracker 10K in 2019. This year's race will be held on July 3 at 8 a.m. (Nicole Munchel / For Baltimore Sun Media)

The good news for Arbutus Firecracker 10K race director Martin Goode is that this year’s race will be held live and families in the neighborhood will be ready to provide refreshing relief along the course with sprinklers and hoses.

The 38th annual 6.2 mile race will be held on Saturday, July 3 at 8 a.m. at the Arbutus Middle School and Goode expects close to 300 entries.

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Entry fee is $30 until July 2 and $40 at packet pickup and on race day.

Goode is in his fourth year as race director since taking over for Valerie Stocksdale, daughter of George Kendrick, who started the race in 1984.

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Kendrick passed away in December of 2018 and he and his late wife Nemah will be on the premium every entrant will receive.

It’s a six-pack cooler with the words “Arbutus Firecracker 10K in memory of George and Nemah Kendrick.”

Goode had planned to give out the premium item last year, but he was forced to hold a virtual race because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He hoped to make this year’s event even bigger and better than past races, but he didn’t receive official word about being able to hold the race until a month ago.

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“Up until a month ago I wasn’t allowed to have much at all,” Goode said. “The Kendrick cookout is out.”

Goode, an Arbutus resident, is hoping the race and history of it will draw runners back.

“Let’s concentrate on just having a race. That’s what people want,” said Goode, who has been running for 42 years but will not run this year. “I’ve been involved with timing and stuff and looking at the logistics of races for maybe 15 years and people are going to be antsy just to race. They are not worried about premiums and what you are going to have after the race.”

During Goode’s first year as director, the course got an unexpected alteration and he had to change the route for the runners after a water main break ruined part of the course early on the morning of the race.

It happened on Francis Avenue in front of the 7-Eleven and Goode found out about it around an hour and a half before the race.

“I went down and I looked and I saw that it had blown up the sidewalk and a little piece of the road,” said Goode, after the race.

He had hoped runners could navigate the stretch by running through the water or on the dry sidewalk.

“They finally told me you’ve got to change the course because the Department of Works didn’t know what the integrity of the road is and it could collapse,” Goode said.

In 2019, heat and humidity was the issue, as it has been many times, but it was run and Tyler Muse won in a time of 32.30.

Muse has not yet signed up for this year’s race, but second-place finisher Jeremy Ardanuy, who ran 33:15, has registered.

Hannah Cocchiaro, a Columbia resident, was the top female runner in 2019 when she clocked in at 37:37.

In January, 2020, Cocchiaro came in 61st at the Olympic marathon trials in Atlanta. Out of 390 finishers, she ran a time of 2:42.02.

Although the delay in getting the go-ahead to hold the race hindered him from getting more sponsors, Goode did get a donation from Ambrose Funeral Home and is being helped by Feet First and Bullseye Running.

Bullseye Running will handle the timing and have the race results at www.bullseyerunning.com.

The winner of the race will receive a $100 cash award.

Although they only had a virtual race last year, Goode went up to Arbutus Middle School and liked what he saw.

“I went over and rode my bike around the course on race day and we had at least 100 cars in the parking lot. It looked like a race was going on,” said Goode, who noted on June 25 that they had 146 runners entered this year. “We may have some stragglers sign up, but I will almost guarantee we will have 300.”

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