Before the backyard barbecues and fireworks began, nearly 900 runners from 26 states participated in Cazenovia's 37th Annual Fourth of July Foot Races.
"We had a great turnout this year," Chary Griffin, one of the race sponsors and coordinators, said. "Around 1,000 people registered, 75 to 85 percent of which are from the Syracuse area. A lot of the runners are in town for the weekend, visiting with family members and friends for the holiday."
In the 5K race, Mike Heymann of Tully finished with a time of 15:40. Taking second and third place were Ben Jackson (15:58) from Chittenango and Robert Grim (16:01) from Alburg, Vt., , respectively.
Syracuse-resident Kelsey Thomas (20:00) was the first female to finish the 3.1 mile race, and Noah Shepard (19:16) was the first Cazenovia native to cross the finish line.
Recording a respectable time of 21:50, Cazenovia celebrity Mark Evans -- gym teacher and varsity girls lacrosse coach for the Lakers -- considers the race to be a part of his Independence Day traditions.
"I've done the race for 10 years," Evans said. "Sometimes I run the 5K, other times the 10 mile. Every time, though, I just want to be competitive, and do the best I can."
Abby MacIntosh -- a 2008 Cazenovia High School graduate -- also participated in the 5K run.
"I've done the 5K for three years now," she said. "I kind of used this race as off-season training for collegiate cross-country and I might do a triathlon this summer, too."
In the 10-mile race around the lake, Joshua Brown of Burlington, Vt., captured first place with a decisive, two-and-a-half minute lead, finishing with a time of 56:02. Jared Newell (58:33) and Boris Dzikovski (1:00:39) rounded up the top three. Patrick Dermody -- currently a student at Cazenovia -- finished sixth overall, posting a time of 1:02:19.
Similar to MacIntosh, Cazenovia-native Kate Brondum used the ten-mile race to prepare for her upcoming cross-country season at LeMoyne College.
"I want to have a great year, and training for this race is good preparation," Brondum said. "I'm thinking about doing the Boilermaker (in Utica), but we'll have to see."