Martin Goode is in his second year as race director for the Arbutus Firecracker 10K race that will take place for the 37th straight year at 8 a.m. on July 4th at Arbutus Middle School, where the race begins and ends.
He remembers running when George Kendrick, the ‘unofficial mayor’ of Arbutus, who started the race in 1983, was in charge and hopes to see the same community involvement with sprinklers, hoses and flags along the course.
“That’s one of the things that’s nice when I ran back in the 80s with George, people had their sprinklers out, people had flags out and they were very, very patriotic,” Goode said.
Kendrick passed away at age 96 on Dec. 22, 2018, but in 2014, the race director described the race as “the greatest community spirit there is.”
Goode expects to see that spirit on race day.
“We are looking good for the water stops, we really need to plead on Wynnewood, Carvel, Linden and the Circle Drive people,” said Goode, asking residents on those streets to put out sprinkles and hoses.
“Right now, the low for that night is 75 and the high is 94.”
There is at least one water stop at every mile and maybe more and Tri-Sport, of Sykesville, is going to run a cold towel station at mile four.
“We are hoping that the towel station will work at mile four, that’s a pleasant surprise,” Goode said.
Last year, on the morning of the race, Goode got an unpleasant surprise.
About an hour and a half before the race, a water main break erupted on the course at Francis Avenue in front of the 7-Eleven.
“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 last year’s race.
Without changing the distance, he altered the course but he had to make sure everybody passed the Soap Box Derby race, which started on Elm and Oakland at 9 a.m., in under 15 minutes and they all did.
“There are so many variables that can happen the day of and usually it doesn’t happen, but the police were real good last year about it and the soap box derby people understood and they allowed me to run through there, hopefully, we won’t have to do that,” Goode said.
Last year’s race winner, Dustin Meeker, who clocked in at 34:10, is entered this year, as is Michael Wardian, one of the top ultra-marathoners in the world.
Other top contenders in the men’s race are Dave Berdan, Tyler Muse, Robbie Creese and Tristian Thomas.
Berdan won the Firecracker 10K six times since 2007 and captured the race from 2015 through 2017. He finished second last year in a time of 34:30.
Creese, a Glenelg High and Penn State University alum, was an Olympic qualifier in the 1500.
Maura Linde, a standout runner at Century High and Syracuse University, will be one of the favorites in the women’s division, along with Megan DiGregorio. DiGregorio won the Firecracker in 2016.
Last year’s race winner, Julia Roman-Duval (37:29), will not be there because she is in the French Alps.
“We increased the prize money 50 percent,” Goode said. “Instead of $5,000 giveaway, we are giving away $7,400.”
Top three males and females will get $500, $300 and $200 and there is a $100 bonus for a male or female who sets the course record.
The male course record was set by Steve Spence (30:07) and the female record was set by Karin Wagner (35:03).
“500 dollars is not bad for a 10K around our area,” said Goode, noting one of his key financial sponsors was Ambrose Funeral Home.
“Brooks Shoe Company, the shoe company that I run for, donated four shoe certificates,” Goode said. “They are not going to be for the swift, they are going to be a random thing. The person that finishes exactly in the middle of the pack is going to get a pair of shoes and we will draw for the other three.”
Feet First and Falls Road Running have also donated.
There will be age group awards and a one-mile fun run that begins at 8:05 a.m.
Age groups are 18-and-under, 19-22, 23-26, 27-30, 31-34, 35-38, 39-42, 43-46, 47-50, 51-54, 55-58, 59-62, 67-70 and 71-and-over.
Registration fee is $35 through July 3 and $40 on race day.
Last year’s race drew 398 runners, including 100 walk-ups. This year, entries were up 100 to 125 as of two weeks ago.
“If it stays the same, I think we will have 490 or 520,” Goode said.