YMCA ready for Firecracker 5K Fun Run

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By Phil Scherer

Uncle Sam will once again make an appearance on the streets of Los Alamos this Fourth of July as the YMCA hosts its annual Firecracker Fun Run and Walk.

The event starts and ends in the parking lot of the YMCA, located on Iris Street. The run will begin at 8 a.m.

All kinds of different participants will take part, including runners, walkers, dog walkers, people with strollers and people dressed up in a variety of different costumes, embracing the holiday spirit of the event.  

A number of prizes will be available at the event, in addition to the 5K, according to the YMCA’s Sports and Adventure Director Jeremy Smith.

The top male and female finishers will both receive free day passes to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs.

The top male and female finishers over the age of 60 will both receive gift cards to the Secret City Kitchen.

The person with the best costume will win free bagels for a year from Ruby K’s Bagel Café.

New this year will also be a competition for the first stroller to cross the finish line.

According to Smith, to be eligible, the stroller must have a baby inside. It cannot be an empty stroller and it cannot be carrying a dog or other pet.

The winner of that competition will win a $50 gift card to Amazon.

Other prizes include gift cards to CB Fox for the fastest teenagers and tickets to the Reel Deal Theater for the fastest competitors under the age of 12.

In addition, there will be between 30 and 35 random door prizes given away to competitors just for showing up.

Those prizes have been donated by many local businesses, including some that are also sponsoring other prizes during the race.

“Everybody has a pretty good chance of winning something, even if you don’t win your category in the race,” Smith said. 

He said that one of his favorite parts of the event is always seeing the costumes that people wear.

“Always lots of fun costumes,” Smith said. “Red, white and blue stars, funny tutus, crazy socks. It’s always so great to see all the people who come out in their costumes.”

To participate in the event, the cost is $35 for adults, $25 for YMCA members and $15 for runners under the age of 13.

There will be an additional $5 fee to register on-site the day of the run.

Smith said that last year, there were more than 200 participants, and that registration was on par so far this year.

He said that if people don’t want to participate, there are opportunities to volunteer in a variety of roles or just be a spectator, something that has increased in popularity over the past few years.

“About five years ago, it would just be the runners who would just run and leave, but now we have a nice crowd that comes out to see what’s going on,” Smith said. “Now we can have a ceremony for the awards and everyone sticks around for that.”

Following the 5K, the YMCA will also be sponsoring the Kids Parade, which will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Those interested in participating are invited to meet at the Elephant at Ashley Pond.

They are also encouraged to come dressed in their most festive apparel.

Overall, Smith said the thing he enjoys most is just seeing everyone come and have a good time, especially those that may not be involved in other YMCA events throughout the year.

He said, “It’s really a great way to kick of the holiday for everyone.”