Sure, it’s tempting to spend the Fourth of July kicking back with friends, a cold drink in hand and some meat sizzling on the grill. Being able to do all that and compete in a hotly (no pun intended) contested race could be even better.

The Fourth of July races provide plenty of freedom to choose, especially in choosing distances. People have the Run Wild 5K, the Wings of Freedom 5K and 10K, and the Texas Bud Heat Wave 5 mile and 5K as options. All the events also feature a Kids K.

The Texas Bud Heat Wave has moved from its longtime Baytown location to nearby Mont Belvieu. The 5K and 5-miler start at 7 a.m. at Wismer Distributing on the I-10 frontage road.

The course stays away from the interstate, making an out-and back transit near the Barbers Hill school complex. The course is sunny, and the race organizers prepare for a hot day with plenty of water and beer on hand.

After the race, the Heat Wave features friendly competitions for best patriotic costumes and sausage eating. Sausage fans don’t have to be competitive. All runners and walkers can enjoy sausage, watermelon and other snacks as they cheer on participants. Registration closes June 29 at Texas5milerun.org.

The Wings of Freedom 5K, 10K and Family Fun Run also has a beer connection. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. at Houston’s Karbach Brewery and proceeds in a large triangle around the area.

After the 5K and 10K, a Freedom Celebration bridges the competitive and non-competitive events. The family run/walk gets under way at 9 a.m.

The family run/walk covers 1 kilometer and is open to all ages. Dogs are also welcome to the fun run/walk, and registered dogs have the option of a race T-shirt or doggie bandana. Registration is open at runsignup.com.

The Run Wild 5K calls itself the largest July 4th 5K in Texas and is held at Houston’s Hennessy Park. The Kids K begins at 7:10 a.m., followed by the 5K at 7:30 a.m. Registration is open at runsignup.com.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com

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