Before I ran the Sportspectrum Firecracker 5K, I wasn’t really sure that I’d ever be a runner. I’d participated in a couple of fundraiser 5Ks – mostly in huge parking lots – but I didn’t really feel “at home” among the running crowd. Much of my running had been done on an indoor track, where I’d spent a year or so running three or four times a week. But, honestly, I don’t think I would have called myself “a runner”.
The Firecracker 5K, which will be held in Shreveport for the 33rd time on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, changed the way that I saw the sport of running. In 2015, I lined up with a huge crowd of more than 3,500 folks, most of whom were decked out in red, white and blue, at Mall St. Vincent in Shreveport’s South Highlands neighborhood. Before the race, there’s a festive and patriotic atmosphere with live music as well as a health expo focused on neck, back and spine wellness. I’d definitely encourage first-time participants to arrive early and allow some time to take it all in.
When the race began, I quickly realized that the Firecracker 5K course is equally beautiful and difficult. There are hills, hills and more hills as the course winds its way through one of the most scenic neighborhoods in the city. I’d been running indoors; this course was a real trial for me. Organizers describe the course as “a scenic and challenging road race for runners, walkers, and sightseers,” and it certainly is scenic and challenging. As I ran, I remember being completely amazed and inspired as I encountered firefighters and members of the U.S. Armed Forces running the race in full gear, soaked in sweat.
The finish line is, basically, the best party that you’ll ever attend at 8:30 a.m. There are hot dogs and fresh fruit from local businesses, coffee from Rhino Coffee, beer from Great Raft Brewing, more music and more good vibes. By the end of the morning, I’d made some new running buddies, seen a new side of the regional running community and, honestly, seen a new side of myself.
Whether you’re a runner who lives in the region but hasn’t run in Shreveport or a local runner who’s never run the Firecracker 5K, I’d encourage you to consider signing up. Sign-up before June 28 to receive the discounted price of $20; online registration closes on June 28. Online registration and more info can be found here.
20×49.com is a project of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. If you’re traveling to Shreveport-Bossier for the Firecracker 5K, check out our online visitor guide here and be sure to browse our summer hotel discounts here.