Running events are apt to do a lot of outlandish or colorful things these days that are not exactly related to feet meeting pavement. Costumes and metals that turn into utensils and balloon rides and such all add flavor to the competitive world of competitive running, but few can boast the ties to the past and tradition in the way that the LA Chinatown Firecracker Run can.
The run, which always follows the historic district's annual Golden Dragon Parade and New Year's celebrations by about a week, is set to move on Sunday, Feb. 24 (and the bike ride on Saturday, Feb. 23).
So what are the traditions? Well, it's part of the larger Chinatown festivities, festivities that last a better part of a month. But firecrackers, which have been lit at one or two New Year celebrations along the way, actually are a part of the run.
Don't you love that, when something in the name of an event is actually part of an event and not merely window-dressing? Seems to happen less and less.
And seeing excited runners plug their ears as the ceremonial firecrackers are exploded with the crack-crack-pop sounds is one of the great sights of the day. (And we jested about firecrackers being around a year or two; they're of course a major part of welcoming the new year.)
The LA Chinatown Firecracker Run isn't merely about the 5k or the 10k or the Kiddie Run or the bike ride. There's the Nite 'n Day Festival -- think Vietnamese folk dance, Japanese taiko, and other performances -- and a health fest, too. The party continues for the Year of the Snake.
Oh, and the run itself? Chinatown and Elysian Park are the route. Call it a gorgeous and happy Sunday morning, full of pep for the year ahead, and a few thousand firecracker pops to set things a-poppin'.
photos: Todd Mazer