Jaime Schneider waves to her children as she runs in the Firecracker 5K.
In its second year, there is a new sponsor, a new course and a new date for the Wapakoneta Firecracker 5K run and walk.
But one thing has not changed, an organizer says, the event is fun for the entire family.
“I think having family and friends in town for the Fourth of July and for the festival makes everyone want to be together and do something special to commemorate the holiday,” organizer Barb Harrod said, noting the event will be held at 9 a.m. July 4. “I think people like doing something locally and having this race to participate in enables people to do something fun close to home and also incorporate those people that they enjoy being with during the holiday.”
The Wapakoneta Firecracker 5K race is part of the St. Joseph Parish Fourth of July Festival and fireworks held at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
She said people can choose to walk or run for the 5K race which enables people to travel the course at their own pace.
“We had a lot of walkers last year in the race and with no time limit on the race people can enjoy it at their own pace,” Harrod said. “We actually are encouraging the community to come out and participate in their own time frame — they don’t have to run it, they can walk it — we just want more people to come and be healthy and walk and not feel pressured to finish it in a certain amount of time.”
To help spread the news to people, the St. Joseph Church Fourth of July Festival organizers joined with the newly formed Friends of the Library organization, a group to help the Auglaize County Public District Library.
Proceeds from the event are to be used to support many programs throughout Wapakoneta, the Wapakoneta library and St. Joseph Parish. Some of the programs include the summer reading program at the library, youth events and outreach programs and organizations supported by St. Joseph Catholic Church including St. Vincent de Paul and God’s Storehouse.
Harrod noted the course, which starts and finishes at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds, is changing to allow runners the opportunity to see more of downtown Wapakoneta than during its inaugural race last year.
There will also be water stations along the race route and the tent at the finish line is to be stocked with fruit and drinks for the competitors. Each competitor will receive a t-shirt for participating in the Wapak Firecracker 5K.
Harrod also said they changed the date from the Saturday prior to the Fourth of July to the actually Fourth of July, so this year’s event will be held on Wednesday.
“I think the reason the race attracted so many participants last year was because of the time of the year was right and the sponsors of the race helped promote it,” Harrod said, noting the Fourth of July race date this year hopefully attracts even more to participate. “I think everyone just enjoyed coming out to see the new event and many to give it a try.
“There are not that many races in Wapak so I think it was great to add a new one and something different at a good time of the year,” she said. “Most people have the holiday off and that is wonderful and that permits the time to participate in it and also be with family and friends. I think it will be a great opportunity again for people to show their support, get some exercise and really enjoy the holiday.”