Long before the heat arrived and the fireworks were shot off, many Derby residents were winding through High Park for the annual Firecracker Run on July 4.
More than 220 runners competed in the four-mile race and another 136 competed in the one-mile competition. Several runners competed in both races.
Peter Kretsch was the top Derby finisher in the four-mile race. The 51-year-old runner placed seventh overall and first in his age division with a time of 24:18.
“I was hoping for around 24 minutes, but I was a little slower than I wanted. I haven’t been doing much speed work, so I’m happy with the time,” Kretsch said.
Kretsch, a year-round runner and member of the Derby Running Club, started running when he was in eighth grade. After 35 years of running, he still competes in roughly a dozen races a year.
“I’ve been doing it since eighth grade and I never really stopped,” he said. “I just love running.”
Haysville’s Bryant Keirns won the four-mile race with a time of 21:30, the fastest time by nearly 1:30. Keirns, who has placed in the top three in the past three Firecracker Runs, and was a third-place finisher in the Class 6A state cross country meet as a senior for Campus this past fall, said he was impressed with his time in the race this past Wednesday.
“I was happy with my time. I haven’t been running as much as I normally do over the summer,” Keirns said. “It feels good to finally win after placing second and third in the past two years. You never know who might show up to a road race like this, though.”
Several other Derby residents had solid times in the race. Sara Wilson had the fastest time in the women’s 30-34 age division, with 30:33 over the four-mile race. Diane Gerlach was a minute faster with 29:28 for first place in the women’s 45-49 age division. Evan Julius ran the four miles in 26:15 for third place in 15-19 age group, while Bob Wellemeyer finished third in the men’s 50-54 age group with a time of 31:14.
The top finishers in the one-mile race also hailed from Derby. Jake Wike, who also competes in track and field at Wichita State University, was the men’s overall winner with a time of 4:38 in the one-mile race. Derby’s Tammy Lockwood had the best women’s overall finish in the race with 5:34.
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