(Above) Nearly 100 runners took part in the first-ever Freedom Firecracker 5K run & 1-mile fun run at Freedom High in Tampa Palms on a hot and humid July 4. (All photos by Charmaine George)

Our first Freedom Firecracker 5K (and 1-mile fun run) turned out to be a huge success on the morning of the 4th of July. When all was said and done, 98 people had registered for the race — after the numbers were much lower (at only about 30) until the last several days before the event.

Eight-year-old Lochlan Lawley finished the 3.1 miles in 24.48, or almost exactly 8 minutes per mile

Race day was bright, clear, sunny, hot and humid and there was lots of red, white and blue. America-themed pop music played over the loudspeakers. Several members of the Freedom PTSA were there to help with setup, face painting and providing course directions for the runners. A number of student volunteers from Freedom’s Key Club also came out to help with face painting, handing out bead necklaces and providing water to runners at stations along the route.

After the playing of the national anthem, the race began promptly at 8 a.m., with an actual firecracker start!  The course took the runners off Freedom’s new track, and then twice around the back of the school, up past the New Tampa Recreation Center along Commerce Park Blvd., and back through the parking lot, finishing up back on the track.

The overall winner at the Freedom Firecracker 5K was Mason LaBlance. 

Hot dogs and red, white and blue popsicles were enjoyed after the race ended!

Medals were given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in male and female categories. The fastest runner overall was Mason LaBlance, who finished the 3.1-mile (5K) run in a time of 17:35.2.  Mason, a student at King High, finished more than a minute ahead of his nearest competitors!

The other 5K medal winners were:


2. Joseph Kuhns – 18:44.5 (Freedom student)

3. Noah Brucculeri – 18:51.5 


1. Elsi Rehberg – 22:08.5  

2. Madelyn Ammirati – 23:22.3  (Freedom student)

3. Abigail Lawley – 23:27.2  

The link at the end of this story will take you to a complete listing of the race results. Thanks to Freedom’s track coach Alex Hernandez for providing the link so everyone who participated can check their official results!

The 5K was followed by a 1-mile run/walk around the Freedom track. Mostly parents and some staff members participated in that event.  

Freedom assistant principal Jenna Lamour and Coach Hernandez did an outstanding job organizing our school’s first-ever Firecracker 5K event.  Thank you to them, the runners and their families, the Freedom PTSA and Freedom Key Club for their participation and support of the Freedom Athletics program. 

Ms. Lamour says that the event generated about $2,000 in proceeds, which will be used to purchase athletic equipment, supplement uniforms, support coaches at clinics, recognition banquets,  varsity letters/pins, etc.

To check your Firecracker 5K results, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/147920#resultSetId-390901;perpage:100.

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