The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 4, 2014

The fleet come to Mifflinburg for 5K race

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— MIFFLINBURG — The Fourth of July conditions for Mifflinburg’s 31st annual 5K run were nearly perfect for both runners — 665 were registered — and the thousands of friends, neighbors and visitors who lined downtown streets cheering them on.

“I mean, what could be better than sun and temperatures in the 70s,” said Julianne Martyn, in town from Liverpool to support and root for her brother-in-law who was entered in the race.

Brad Webb, with the organizing group, said this year’s race registration was slightly below last year’s, “but that’s probably because last year was our 30th anniversary, which got a lot of publicity and drew runners from surrounding states. Besides, it’s all about the holiday and this race sets the table for what the town has been doing for 43 years now on Independence Day.”

Webb had been concerned about the high temperatures earlier in the week, and was relieved to see some cooler weather set in, at least temporarily.

“It was in the 90s, and that’s not conducive to safe long distance running,” he said. “But things worked out.”

The 5K race,  slightly more than 3 miles, was just the start of Mifflinburg’s day-long July Fourth celebration, which culminated in late night fireworks and a concert by the Re-Creation ensemble of singers and dancers at Community Park.

This year’s race winner was a familiar face, Vince Fadale, 21, of Selinsgrove, who also won last year’s 5K.

Fadale, a senior at Lock Haven University, was timed at 15 minutes and 41 seconds.

“It was tough,” he said, while cooling down after he crossed the finish line at Hickory and Fifth streets.

The top time clocked in by a female runner was 18:57, by Allison Billas, 20, of Danville.

What counts to most amateur runners is the fact that you finish and beat your targeted time.

“I did it. I did it,” said Maryann Josephson, of Sunbury. “Twenty-nine minutes. Awesome.”

Some families just came to enjoy the spectacle. Robert and Michelle Branch, of Lewisburg, have been coming to Mifflinburg’s July Fourth celebration for 10 years.

“We come early, watch the race, take a swim, and enjoy the music and fireworks,” said Michelle Branch.

For them, it’s a full-day affair.

“It’s Friday, a long weekend. What the heck?” joked Robert Branch.

At age 56, “my running days are over,” he said. “But we have friends whose children run, so we’re here to lend some support. And we always seem to have a good time here. It’s very relaxing.”