CEDAR RAPIDS — As the 34th annual Fifth Season races begin Thursday, uncertain weather and July 4 falling on a Thursday will pose a few challenges.
Yet the Health Solutions 8K and Fifth Season 5K will combine to have slightly more than 1,300 members, per race director Jim Dwyer. That does not include the participants in the "Kids' Fun Run" and youth mile race.
Dwyer said midweek races always have lower participation than weekend races. This is the fourth consecutive year July 4 has fallen midway through the week.
"Numbers historically over the last 34 years are lower if it's on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday than if it's on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday," Dwyer said. "It's the midweek phenomenon."
A 50-percent chance of rain adds another dynamic to race planning for Dwyer and fellow race directors Mark Powers and Brian Tharp. Rain is fine for the race, but lightning would force everyone to take shelter.
"We can take a little rain," Dwyer said. "That'll keep the temps down and the humidity."
If lightning does occur, Dwyer said the contingency plan would be the parking garages.
The 8K will begin at 8 a.m., and the 5K will begin at 8:15 a.m. The top man and woman to finish the 8K will receive $599, part of the $3,148 in total prize money.
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Each race will start and end outside the Cedar Rapids Public Library at Greene Square. The race will close parts of Fourth Avenue, 19th Street and Grand Avenue.
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