By Carl Kotala
David Galvez got off to a fast start … and just kept on going.
Kaitlin Donner won again, but not without having to fight off a challenge from Holly Wooley that was so tough, they didn’t even stop for water.
From festive Fourth of July costumes, to a field that had 1,237 registered runners/walkers despite the warm conditions, this year’s Firecracker 5K had it all.
“A little bit hotter than I would have liked it, but all in all it was a good course,” the 21-year-old Galvez said. “I had fun.”
The California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) engineering student – who is interning at Northrup Grumman this summer – finished the first race in the 12th annual Running Zone Foundation Race Series in a time of 15:54.2.
Fifteen-year-old Troy Smith of Rockledge was second in 16:35.7 and Viera’s John Davis was third in 16:59.8.
Viera’s Shane Streufert won the men’s masters division in 17:18 and was fifth overall.
Galvez, who could be seen going out fast early, said he followed the pace of another runner and found it to his liking.
“No, I didn’t expect to do this,” he said “I want to run my fastest in October and November. So right now (this was) as little tune-up before I start picking up my mileage.”
Donner, the defending women’s series champion, has now won four consecutive Firecracker 5K races. The 26-year-old finished in 17:39.5, just ahead of Wooley, who came in at 17:46.8.
“It was a great race,” Donner said. “I’m glad Holly was here to pace off of. We really just worked together the whole time. … It was great to have someone to do that with. It’s the perfect way to run a race.”
OK, maybe a little water would have been nice.
“There are two water stops and I was like, ‘OK, if Holly gets water, I’ll get water,’ and she didn’t get water at either one,” Donner laughed.
Wooley, a 20-year-old UCF student – and former Brevard HEAT runner – seemed quite happy with her race and the opportunity to work with Donner throughout.
“She got me at the corner (just before the finish),” Wooley said. “She just took off and I just didn’t have it. It just kind of sucked the wind out of my sails. It was great, though. That was awesome.”
Tasha Camps of Melbourne Beach won the women’s masters division in 21:51.4.
The team title went to Viera Pizza, which featured Galvez, Davis, Streufert, Wooley and Zeke Zauner.
The Running Zone team of Donner, Joe Lento, Jonathan Howse, Elizabeth Mihlebach and Melissa Taylor was second.
The next race in the series will be the I Run for Pizza Football Kickoff 5K, which will take place on Aug. 13 at The Avenue in Viera.
Donner said there is a lot to like about the series.
“I just (like) the camaraderie and the people and what Running Zone does, making each race an event,” she said. “This is the Fourth of July. We have the Ghostly Gecko 5K where we’re all dressed up in a Halloween costume. The December Jingle Bell 2 Miler. It’s always an event.