Runners and walkers were back out in force for one of the most popular local 5K runs of the year — the Fourth of July Fun Run.
A total of 109 participants started at the last turnout on Pebble Beach Drive before cutting over on 9th Street to join up with the parade route, finishing on Front Street.
This year’s fastest runners were both from out of town, with Josh Paul of Burns, Oregon running the fastest 5K overall in a time of 20:42. Morgan Hagadorn of Frisco, Texas was the fastest female, turning a time of 23:55.
As the fastest overall female Hagadorn — who is visiting family in the area — got her third hand-carved redwood trophy after running the Fourth of July Fun Run for the third time. She said she plans to hang the 2018 trophy up on the wall in her bedroom with the other two.
“They are nice,” Hagadorn said. “They are very pretty.”
Although the 15-year-old varsity track athlete from Texas has won every Fun Run she has participated in locally, Hagadorn said her favorite part of it all is heading to Beachfront Park once it’s all over.
“I like after the race you get to go and hang out,” she said. “I will go get a funnel cake usually. That is what I am probably going to do after this.”
In addition to awarding trophies to the top overall male and female runners, organizers handed out ribbons to each of the top finishers in the different age divisions.
As a fun run the event is about far more than just running the fastest time, however.
A pair of runners decided to kick up the degree of difficulty just a little bit by hauling Old Glory along the 5K course.
Trenton Taylor of Sacramento said running with the American Flag is just his thing. Taylor said he has done it for every 5K that he has run recently.
Local Crescent City Army recruiter, SSG Mark Slusar, also bore the Stars and Stripes all the way through the course to carry on tradition, but it was his first time doing it.
“It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, especially with the wind,” Slusar said. “Every year we do this — this is my first year doing it, but other recruiters have done it in the past. I just wanted to carry on that tradition.”
Slusar came to Crescent City last August, so it was his first time carrying the flag in the race. Although he said the extra drag from the wind on Pebble Beach definitely slowed him down, the energy from the crowd after the run met up with the parade route gave him a little extra boost.
“Finishing with the parade at the end for the last mile really motivated me to continue to push on and bring the colors home to the finish line,” he said. “Just the crowd and the energy was really good.”
Meanwhile the entire Goodwin family was part of the Fourth of July Fun Run in keeping with a tradition that is just starting to form.
Aaron Goodwin and his wife Megan Sylvester ran with their kids Abigail, Molly, Era and Braden.
“We love this race, it’s a ton of fun and it is a family tradition that we have now,” Aaron Goodwin said. “The crowd support and the people that cheer you on when you come through it is great. They see little kids and they are instantly fired up, which fires up the kids too.
“It’s a great time, and it is a great production. It’s a fun situation here for the Fourth of July, and it definitely beats the kids sitting there and collecting candy.”
Aaron Goodwin said he tries to participate in as many of the local 5K runs as he can throughout the year, but the kids are all about the Fourth of July Fun Run in particular.
“They do this one because it is the biggest one in town, its a lot of fun, and there are a lot of kids that do it,” he said.
It was Taylor’s first year running in the Fourth of July Fun Run after spending years watching the parade from the sidelines when visiting family in the area.
The new perspective made for an enjoyable experience, he said.
“I liked how everyone cheers for you,” Taylor said. “It was cool. I’ve been going to the parade for 16 years, but this one was different. It was fun.”
Running in the event also allowed Taylor to get an up close and personal look at his favorite parade attraction — the Jed Smith Mountain Men.
“I like the guns in the parade — when they shoot off the black powder,” he said. “I liked that.”
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .