Postponed 5K race is a go for Saturday

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Running: Annual event is expected to draw around 150 participants this year

By Mike Cote

William Hill has been hopping for the last couple of days to put the finishing touches on the Firecracker 5K event.
Hill, the sports director at the Family YMCA of Los Alamos, is the primary organizer of the race, which will be Saturday starting at the YMCA’s facility on 15th Street.
The 5K race, which has in recent years turned into one of the more popular local races, was originally scheduled to take place on Independence Day. The race was postponed, however, due to the effects of the Las Conchas Fire in late June and the ensuing evacuation of the town.
Things are finally settling down to the point where events such as these can be rescheduled and Hill said he’s expecting the event to be a good one.
“I think it’s going to go down really well,” Hill said. “We’re kind of under as far as people participating, but you get a ton of people on the day of the race.”
Currently, about 90 runners are signed up for Saturday’s race, which goes down Canyon Road to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and back. However, Hill thinks that number will go up to about 150 after day-of registrations are completed.
Those wanting to sign up for the race Saturday may do so at the YMCA starting at 7 a.m.
Registrations will only be accepted through 7:30 a.m., and the race starts at 8 a.m.
Price for participation is $20. The original schedule had prices climbing to $30 as the race neared, but YMCA officials felt it wouldn’t have been fair for runners to have to pay the extra amount since the race was postponed by natural causes.
In 2010, the Firecracker 5K had a record turnout of 242 participants. Because of the fire and the rescheduling of the race, Hill said it was unlikely the 2011 race will approach last year’s total.
“(The fire) messed up a lot of people’s schedules,” he said.
Last year’s race was won on the men’s side by local runner Ryan McNiff, who posted a time of 16 minutes, 20 seconds, 38 seconds better than runner-up Zach Brush of San Antonio.
On the women’s side, local Heather Wood was the top finisher with her time of 19:26, just four seconds ahead of Tanya Collins, also of Los Alamos.
Hill said that rescheduling this race actually will be of some benefit, as runners won’t have to deal with nearly as much traffic as they might have had to on July 4.
To keep the Independence Day feel of the Firecracker, however, Hill said there will be a beanbag toss set up at the YMCA featuring Uncle Sam.
Prizes are awarded to the top finisher of the race and several randomly-selected door prizes will be given out as well. T-shirts will be given to each registered runner.

Firecracker 5K

Saturday, 8 a.m., starting at the YMCA

Day-of registration starts at 7 a.m. and continues until approximately 7:30 a.m.

Price for participation is $20; all entrants receive a T-shirt

Bib pick-up starts at 7:15 a.m.

For more info, call the YMCA at 662-3100