Sykesville's Coolest Mile on Main Street keeps cool, and dry, before evening storm

SYKESVILLE — Despite forecasts that included rain and thunder, the second annual Coolest Mile on Main Street footrace in Sykesville on Saturday was contested before the storms moved in.

Not that Julie Della-Maria, main street coordinator with Sykesville Main Street, was worried.


"No, it doesn't rain on our party," she said with a laugh. "We face that issue all the time — everything we do is outdoors, so we try not to look at the Weather Channel too much. We keep our fingers crossed and hope that people are going to show up."

And show up they did. More than 250 people toed the starting line at Sykesville Middle School before racing a downhill course that ended at an inflatable finishing gate that spit bubbles at the intersection of Oklahoma Avenue and Main Street.


The trade-off for not having rain on the race, however, was soupy air thick with humidity during a hot, fast race.

"I ran it. It was hard," said 10-year-old Madelyn DeMay, of Sykesville. "The grass was the hardest part because it will get caught in your shoelaces and stuff."

Of course, tough as a mile sprint in the heat might be, it's over fast. At least it was for returning overall champions Chris Mead and Sherry Stick, of Sykesville and Eldersburg, who ran a 4:39 and 5:10 respectively.

It was also, at least relatively speaking, a bit cooler than the inaugural race in 2016, according to Stick.

"Last year it was like 100 degrees or something," she said. Still, Stick said, she was certain the event had grown since last year, something Mead had also noticed.

"It's fun, it's low key and anybody can do it because it's short. It's not like you have to train up, like somebody might have to do for a 5K," he said.

"I think that's why you see a lot of people come out to do it — people with dogs, strollers and everything. It's good to see a community that just comes together and hangs out afterward."

Beyond the finish line, chicken was grilled, cold drinks distributed, and a foam machine churned a small lake of bubbles for runners and children and running children, while a band chopped into 1990s radio favorites from bands like Weezer and Third Eye Blind.

"We have people coming to hang out and turned it into a little party," Della-Maria said, "until 9 p.m."

Even after running a mile, some athletes, their families and other festivalgoers tried their hands at a barbell dead lift, a weightlifting demonstration setup by Momentum Personal Training to help continue the exercise theme of the evening.

"We attract people because we teach them the form for the dead lift and they accomplish it, and we'll give them a T-shirt," said Stacey Wilson, a therapist with Momentum. "It draws people in."

And not just to Momentum's booth — Wilson, a longtime Sykesville resident, said she loves to see main street events bring people out in the town.


"It's a great community," she said. "I've raised six kids here — and grandkids — so it's amazing. Everything we do here is fantastic."

And the plan is to do more, according to Della-Maria, who said the funds raised from events like the Coolest Mile in turn help fund other events, such as the Sykesville IceFest.

"We are going to install a bike rack. We have a blacksmith making a bike rack for us, and we had a sign we fixed on Main Street, so we are reinvesting our money into community things," she said. "We are thinking of developing more educational and art programs for children."

With luck, those ventures will also be blessed with good weather. By 6 p.m. Saturday, the first big drops of what would become heavy drapes of rain splattered on the asphalt, but the band played on, for just a few more bars before the storm.




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