By: Marcus Dieterle, Associate News Editor
Featured image by Marcus Dieterle/ The Towerlight
Towson University President Kim Schatzel kicked off the Fourth of July festivities in downtown Towson with a blaring airhorn signaling the start of a four-mile race around the neighborhood.
Decked out in red, white and blue gear, participants lined up at the starting line at 8:30 a.m. for the second annual 4 on the 4th Road Race. They ran, walked and rolled four miles through downtown Towson and the TU campus before reaching the finish line at the Historic Old Courthouse.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the Towson Chamber of Commerce, The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, and Cancerve, a nonprofit organization that provides support services to woman cancer survivors.
Community member Shaine Morrison ran in the 4 on the 4th race to “support a good cause.”
“I like to do charity runs so I always do charity runs…. [The Fourth of July is] just about giving back, giving to a charity, giving to a good cause. That’s what it means to me,” Morrison said.
While Morrison said he didn’t run his best time, he said he enjoyed “the atmosphere, the positive vibes, and the camaraderie from the runners” and that he can’t wait to return next year to beat his time.
Those looking for a shorter race found their way to the 1776 Family Fun Run. The 1776 foot—or approximately third of a mile—route through Towson commemorated the ratification of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Community member Paula George ran in the 1776 race for the first time this year and plans to return next year.
“I just wanted to do something different for the Fourth,” George said. “We do that race over at GBMC, the Father’s Day [race]. So we kind of like the holiday races.”
For George, the Fourth of July is about celebrating with loved ones and remembering the people who laid the foundation for this nation.
“The Fourth means family, friends, barbecues, just remembering all of the people who died for our country,” she said.
After celebrating the race’s winners with trophies and applause, attendees made their way to the side of the road at 10:30 a.m. to watch the Towson Fourth of July Parade, which has been running for 70 years.
Debbie Phelps, executive director of The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’s mother, served as this year’s parade grand marshal.
Representing TU in the parade was a Stephens Hall replica float, Doc the Tiger, the football team, and the marching band.
The parade also featured members of the Baltimore police and fire departments, military servicemembers and veterans, bands, dancers, antique cars, community groups and Maryland politicians.
TU community members were able to pick up football ticket vouchers and free commemorative TU Fourth of July T-shirts.