Runners celebrate 40th anniversary of ‘Firecracker Run’

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 8:45 PM CDT
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EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Whether it was the 5K, the 10K, the kiddie races or the hospital bed races, there was something to do for everyone at the 40th anniversary of the Firecracker Run in East Moline.

“It’s a staple of the Quad Cities area. I think everyone kind of looks forward to it. The atmosphere is amazing,” said runner Devin Allbaugh.

The runners filled the downtown East Moline atmosphere for the 40th time at the 2022 Firecracker Run.

It is a Quad Cities tradition for many, whether they run or cheer from the sidelines.

Runners of the 5K and 10K races took off just after 7:30 a.m..

A little more than 15 minutes later, Devin Allbaugh was the first person to cross the finish line.

Fast forward about three and a half minutes, his wife Kelsey was the first woman to cross the line.

“It’s been kind of a goal here for a little bit to actually come and win this race. I’ve ran it a lot, and I don’t think, I’ve never won it. And so yeah, it has kind of been a goal for a while to get the big ‘W’ for it,” said Kelsey Allbaugh, first woman to cross the finish line for the 5K race.

“It felt really good. We actually have a race team that we were down here with. So I was pacing one of my teammates through about two, two and a half miles. And then we just kind of did our own thing that last half mile. It felt great. It was hot, but it felt good,” said Devin Allbaugh, the first person to cross the finish line during the 5K race.

A good feeling felt among runners of all ages.

“We’ve got a 99-year-old just about to cross the finish line.”

After being pushed in her wheelchair by her grandson for most of the race, 99-year-old Vahalia Olvera walked the last leg of the race across the finish line, with the help of her grandson, as well as race director Joe Moreno.

“It’s beautiful because I’ve done a lot of these races. I’ve done  a lot of these races. I’ve done a lot of the Bix and all of them. So it was great to walk through here. God was with me,” said Olvera.

With encouragement from her son, Lupe and grandson, Michael, she plans to be back for year next year.

“And we’ll do the 4th of July for 100 years.” “We’ll be here grandma.”

There was an awards ceremony, live music and plenty of beverages after the race at “Runner’s Park” in downtown East Moline.

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