By Mike Deak
WINONA LAKE – She was quietly optimistic, hoping July 4th would just hurry up and get here. When the sun came up Saturday morning, Barb Martz finally was able to slightly relax.
Martz helped put on the 2020 Firecracker 5K Road Race with the help of My Team Triumph (MTT). The road race, the first formal event for the usually well-traveled Winona Lake trail system in 2020, had My Team Triumph take off first just minutes before 8 a.m. and the formal suit of runners cross through the timing chute about five minutes after the last MTT group left the staging area.
“I think there were a few people who were really nervous to come out here and race, but overall we had a really good response,” Martz said as the event carried on Saturday morning. “We’re just really thankful for everyone who came out and showed support.”
The first two back home from the 5K trail run through the Heritage Trailway system were Justina Faulkner and Kye Barrett, Faulkner crossing over first and Barrett a step behind in a chivalrous move. The two, however, would swap spots on the leaderboard because of the chip time, Barrett’s actual course time of 19:08 better than Faulkner’s 19:11 based off their starts.
Carlos Camargo (19:26), Matt Koldyke (19:58) and Rene Sanches (20:47) made up the remainder of the top five. Ellie Snep, who was seventh overall, was the female runner-up at 20:47.
The race itself had 65 runners listed as completed and 44 individuals serving through MTT, pushing over the roughly 100 Martz hoped would sign up as event preparations were started in the spring.
A somber moment before the race was held for one of MTT’s own, Charlie Sparks. Sparks passed away in February and the race community held a moment of silence for him prior to the race, and his seat was left empty as the cart was still ran around the course in his honor.
“It was a little emotional not having Charlie here racing with us, he ran in quite a few of these events in the past,” Martz said. Charlie was the son of Shaun and Eva Mudd. “Our captains have been itching to get out for a while. They were so excited this morning. We’ve done a couple practice runs to get back into shape. A couple of these captains, this is super important for them. For us, it is very important to then turn around and make it happen for them.”
Full race results can be found courtesy of Watt’s Timing.