Firecracker 5K returning to benefit Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade


Coastal Point • File Photo: Runners and walkers take-off during last year’s Firecracker 5K.Coastal Point • File Photo: Runners and walkers take-off during last year’s Firecracker 5K.The Firecracker 5K has enjoyed steady success since it launched seven years ago, and this Sunday the 5K run and 3K walk looks to be just as popular as ever.

“It was started to celebrate the great Fourth of July traditions in Bethany Beach,” explained race director Greg Mavraganis. “Now in year seven, I think it’s one of Bethany’s signature events.”

Starting out with 200 participants, the race grew to encompass 425 registered runners last summer, and Mavraganis said that they’re hoping to see an even larger turnout this Sunday, with the possibility of upwards of 500 racers.

“We’ve enjoyed steady growth in participation during our first six years,” he said. “Our goal is to host an event that’s enjoyable for people of all ages.”

Similar to years past, the race is open to the public, and racers of all ages are welcome to participate in either the run or walk and compete for various age-group awards that will be given out after the race a ceremony held on the Bethany Beach bandstand.

And, like always, the proceeds will benefit the annual Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade, which has become somewhat of a marquee tradition in the community.

“It’s such a patriotic and enjoyable event,” added Mavraganis of the parade. “Some of my fondest childhood memories are of decorating my bike and riding in the parade — it’s a pleasure to be able to organize an event to support the parade.”

Fittingly, the event organized for the community couldn’t be made possible without its support.

“To me, it’s a reflection of what makes Bethany so special,” Mavraganis noted regarding the support both the race and parade have seen over the years. “Our volunteers are mostly close friends and family, many of whom grew up spending summer days on the beach at Ashwood Street. Because of that, we have a lot of pride in Bethany Beach, and our goal is to put on a race that reflects that.”

For longtime participants in the race, such as Jera-Marie Bupp, the event is a family affair.

“What makes the Firecracker 5K so special to our family is that it’s really the only sporting event that enables our entire extended family to participate together — either as runners, stroller riders or cheering spectators,” said Bupp. “And as the years pass, my children and nieces will get to go from the sidelines and strollers to runners themselves.

“This year, my two older children will run in the 5K for the first time — hopefully, for many years to come.”

The race will be held rain or shine in downtown Bethany Beach on Sunday, June 28, and begins at 8 a.m. The entry fee is $20, with race-day registration beginning at 7 a.m. on the Bethany Beach bandstand. For more information, go to www.bethanybeach5k.com or email Greg Mavraganis at bethanybeach5k@gmail.com.