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5K delivers fun on Independence Day

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By Phil Scherer

A record 207 people participated in this year’s Firecracker 5K Fun Run, organized by the YMCA.

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The annual Independence Day event brought people – and dogs – of all ages and sizes together for an event that YMCA Sports and Adventure Director Jeremy Smith described as a “great way to kick of the holiday for everyone.”

Joshua Strevell was the overall top finisher, with a time of 18:46.8. He ran the race with his dog Branson.

Strevell, who will be a senior at Los Alamos High School this year, said he always enjoys participating in these types of events.

“I thought it was a great chance to come out and celebrate the Fourth of July,” Strevell said. “Praise God for everything

I’ve been able to do and accomplish in my life and for our independence.”

Strevell said that Branson has been running since he was just a puppy, and that he enjoys racing more than anything else.

“He always insists to be out in the front and be the leader of the race, even when he’s probably not in shape for it,” Strevell said.

Smith said that it’s always fun to see something unique happen, like a dog finishing at the top of the leader board.

“That’s pretty fun, that’s great,” Smith said.

He added that Branson has won the event once or twice before, and that Strevell has been a top competitor in the past as well.

Strevell’s brother Steven was the overall second-place finisher, completing the race with a time of 18:49.9, just three seconds slower than Joshua.

It took just over an hour for all of the participants to finish the race.

As has become tradition, a man in an Uncle Sam costume crossed the finish line last, signaling the end of the event.

After finishing, all of the participants were treated to complimentary water, lemonade and fruit to help them gain back the energy they had used on the course.

In addition to the run, there were many participants who embraced the spirit of the holiday, dressing in various costumes including a mother and daughter who dressed in matching Wonder Woman costumes, and a family of four that dressed up as the Incredibles, from the Pixar animated film.

The award for best costume went to Devon Durrer, who drew some of the biggest applause of the day.

She had her baby bump painted with fireworks, and was dressed in a red, white and blue tutu and American flag leggings. Both of her dogs had red, white and blue scarves around their necks.

Prizes were given out to the top finishers in the various age categories, as well as the top finishing dog and the first stroller across the finish line. In addition, various door prizes were awarded for participation from restaurants and businesses from around the community.

Smith said that like past years, he considered this year’s event to be a great success.

“Once again, a very successful fun run,” Smith said. “We had great weather, lots of fun, lots of great costumes and lots of great participants.”