The eighth annual Firecracker 5K lived up to its name on Saturday as the runners were on fire.
A family favorite for many, the Chesterton course is flat with no elevation or hills, so runners tend to have faster times and novice runners can go without the challenges of hills and off road areas.
Jill Schneider, race director for the Firecracker since its inaugural event in 2007, said the race "has a lot of energy."
"It’s well marked, the volunteers help motivate all runners and it’s a course that many runners come to in order to get a new PR," she said. "It’s also a Calumet Strider Gold Cup race and we get great support from Superior Ambulance and Fire Department who provide First Aid and a water mist area for the runners."
The overall winner was 32-year-old Josh May with a time of 15 minutes, 45.8 seconds. Second place overall finisher Geoff Lambert said he doesn't run too many races anymore, but since he is from Chesterton he "always" tries to "come back and run this race."
The top female finisher was Jessica Breman, a 29-year-old with a time of 18:28.9. In the Masters Category the female winner was Chrys Davis; 19:18.7 and James Kyle had the top male time of 18:53.1.
The Franciscan Alliance Health system consisting of St. Anthony Health and St. Margaret Health Centers will utilize the funds raised from the race to benefit their various charities. Runners today commented on the great race Franciscan arranged today and as always the staff was quick to solicit suggestions to keep on improving their race.
Fleet Feet, a program where runners can sign up for a series and have Mentors that run with them during the race, had several new runners. Jennifer Dorman, Hannah Dorman, Patti Thompson and Angela Lykowski were quick to compliment their Mentor; Melody Wolff. This was their third race and they all said, Melody was "awesome."
"She went back to help some others, but she helps us with our technique and breathing and keeps us motivated."
The post-race award ceremony included a generous raffle that all the runners were eligible for. Prizes included Blue Chip Casino overnight stays, $100 gift cards for the fitness center, Chocolate Strawberry arrangements from Edible Arrangements, Extra Mile gift certificates, Stracks, etc.... to name just a few.
More than 50 volunteers provided runners with great cheer-leading throughout the course as well as outstanding course direction encourages the newer runners and the runner "goodie bags" were a favorite as always.
"Everyone got earbuds today, Bio-Freeze, Fruit Strip samples, granola bars, among many other items we stuffed in the bags," Schneider said.