Ryan Hauser finished the open class in the Firecracker Mile on Thursday at the state fairgrounds, taking first in his class with a time of 4:59, then immediately transitioned from runner to dad.
Hauser’s two sons, Andrew and Matthew, both ran in the 14-and-younger novice division, so after he and his wife completed their runs in the open division, they went back to the starting line to cheer on the other runners in the family.
“It’s a good sport,” Ryan said. “It’s healthy even if you don’t run it competitively, and these boys are already pretty good, so hopefully they excel.”
Along with Ryan’s first place finish in the open mile, his wife, Katie, was the top female finisher, clocking in at 5:40, and both of the boys had good finishes in the 14-and-younger mile, with Andrew taking 10th in 6:48 and Matthew 12th in 6:55. Andrew and Matthew liked having some family out on the course with them.
“It just helps me to keep going and try to get a better place,” Matthew said.
Andrew is 7, but ran the race for the second time.
“It’s a good sport and it’s just fun to do,” Andrew said. “I just like to run and to beat my goals.”
More than 200 runners came out to the fairgrounds on Thursday morning to participate in the series of one-mile races.
“I think it’s a great turnout,” said race organizer Jeff MIttelhauser. “That’s a very good turnout for this race. Beautiful weather helps. Running is on an up-swing in Sedalia, that helps. For the last three or four years we’ve had greater interest. With the Lub Dub race and the new running group, the Sedalia Striders, we’ve had more people out running than ever before.”
One of the newcomers to the Firecracker Mile was Jesse Ogalsbee, encouraged to run by friends from church.
“They were talking about their former years here, so I thought I’d try it,” he said.
Ogalsbee ran in junior high, but other than jogging around the neighborhood hasn’t done much running since. He ran the mile in a pair of jeans which he admits made things pretty hot.
“Stuff was starting to get blurry at the very end,” he said.
Jamie Groshart, a Healthy U participant who has lost more than 45 pounds so far, also made her Firecracker Mile debut on Thursday.
“I was hoping for under 15 and my trainer said ‘you can do it in 12’ so I did it in 12:02,” she said.
She already has experience running the Bothwell Lub Dub and the Boys and Girls Clubs 5k.
“I started running and I could do maybe 20 seconds,” she said. “I wasn’t very high on my fitness level, and I ran for 12 minutes just now. I can almost do a whole 5k.”
For some of the more veteran runners, it was a return to what has become an annual tradition. Cooper Mittelhauser’s father organizes the race, and Cooper has run it 15 times. This year he took third in the open mile, finishing in 5:28.
“I haven’t been training any, so it’s kind of surprising,” he said. “I was expecting to run quite a bit slower, but it felt pretty good.”
He said he likes the atmosphere of the race.
“You see all these people year after year and you see all these new faces, which is great,” he said. “My entire family runs it. This year we had my grandpa, my aunt, my uncle, my cousin, my dad and my brother. That’s another plus: We get my whole family out and I think you see a lot of people who do that. We get a lot of family teams. It’s part of Sedalia.”
The race even includes a family team competition. This year the Mittelhausers were second, with the Hausers’ impressive showing in the open mile and 14-and-under class earning them first place.
Jeff Mittelhauser had a busy day, running the open mile then racing back to the start line to issue instructions to all of the other groups before they set off, all while organizing the event.
“This is a pretty easy race to direct,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about traffic or volunteers on the corners. By the morning of the race it pretty much runs itself.”
He feels the race promotes an attitude of personal health, but for many of the runners it’s just a fun event to come out and be a part of.
“We come out here every year to support the town festival,” Ryan Hauser said. “My wife is from Sedalia, so we come out here and all of our family run it so it’s a good time.”
Firecracker Mile girls
Firecracker Mile open champ
Firecracker Mile guy in jeans
Firecracker Mile Jeff Mittelhauser