All what it’s ‘Cracked’ up to be

By on July 6, 2011

Todd Ruth

Ephrata Review

Sports Editor Each year, I am simply amazed how many people come out to both run and support the Ephrata Firecracker Run.

The organizers do a magnificent job with the planning of the event, and the actual race itself always seems to go off without a hitch. But the race and day alone really sells itself.

Anyone who has ever had a taste of the Firecracker usually comes back again. How else do you explain another 600 strong competing in this year’s race?

People come from everywhere to take part in this happening. A friend of mine used to fly in every year from Colorado just to run the race. Others travel just as far, but there is a very strong local contingent as well.

It’s kind of like parade night here in town. It’s become a staple, just something you do on the morning of July 4th, whether you are running, know someone who is running, or just enjoy watching other people suffer.

It’s a happening, and I know this has probably exceeded the expectations of race founder Barry Kachel, who dreamed this thing up some 35 years ago.

The race, as well as the outstanding free fireworks that follow in the evening, are feathers in the cap to not only the town of Ephrata but the people who live here.

Once again, great job to all.

Santa’s a helper: It was Christmas in July for one runner who was struggling to finish Monday morning. The man who shows up as Santa (name unknown) each year not only finished the Firecracker once again, but gave an assist to former Cocalico and Garden Spot basketball coach George Stroup, who was the final finisher of the race.

The latter was struggling as he entered War Memorial Field for the final stretch of the race. So, Mr. Claus met up with Stroup and ran with him the rest of the way through the finish line.

A nice gesture from the man from the north pole. Also, a great job of perseverance by you George!

A Great Day: Recently, thanks to a friend, I scored a couple tickets to the U.S. Open Golf Tournament down at Congressional in Washington D.C.

Other than fighting the horrendous traffic you typically can’t avoid around the D.C. area, it was just a great day for my son and I and his buddy Aaron.

If you’ve never been to a tour event, let alone the Open, I recommend that you add it to your bucket list. It is just amazing how far they hit the ball and how good those guys are.

Where I need a three wood from 230 out, those guys are hitting a mid-range iron to get there. And the drives…wow!

We followed Phil Mickelson and eventual champion Rory McIlroy for the first nine holes or so before eventually finding Lancaster County native Jim Furyk, who unfortunately didn’t have one of his better days.

We also sat behind the 10th green which was the place to be on this course because you could watch players also finish up on 18. It was there where we saw an older gentleman sitting right in front of us become overcome with emotion.

I asked if he was OK, and he nodded that he was. But that was his grandson, who qualified as an amateur, that just hit that ball to within five feet of the pin…Pretty neat.

All in all, it was a great experience for the three of us. If you like golf, it certainly doesn’t get any better than that. More RUTH, page B-2

About Ephrata Review