Photo by OHventures
If you feel guilty about hogging down plateful after plateful of atarchy, sugary, carb-heavy food during the holiday season, and particularly on Thanksgiving Day, there is a simple solution that will make you feel exponentially better about your poor diet choices: participating in a Turkey Trot! More and more cities across the state and country are capitalizing on the growing interest people have for an active lifestyle by holding small races on Thanksgiving morning. While Grandma wakes up with the birds to get cracking on turkey dinner, the rest of the family can throw on some tennis shoes and flock to a nearby Turkey Trot!
These types of races have all sorts of names nowadays: The Flying Feather Four Miler in Dublin, the Smoke The Turkey 5K in Toledo, the Thanksgiving Wattle in Grove City, or simply The Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati. Most, however, go by the moniker of "Turkey Trot." My family and I decided to take part in the 34th Annual Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot in Trumbull County, near my hometown of Hubbard. It was a perfect way for the family to bond, especially given that 2012 had been the year that most of us started to get more active and took up running as a hobby.
The Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot took place at 9:30 AM on Thanksgiving Day (November 22, 2012) on the campus of the Kent State University Trumbull Branch. There was a total of 2,700 runners in either the 2 Miler or 5 Miler, which the announcer noted made it the largest race ever to take place in Trumbull County history (sounds like a small race, but for Trumbull County, it was obviously a spectacle). We knew it was pretty packed with runners and spectators, as traffic was backed up on the highway for at least two miles leading up to the event!
My brother Curt, my niece Jaiden (age 9), and myself ran in the 2 Miler, while my sister-in-law Regina and her friend ran in the 5 Miler. My 3 year old niece and 1 year old nephew were there, but just to watch of course! We saw a ton of folks with strollers, and others with dogs on leashes, who were taking part in the 2 Miler, but opting to walk. Since we have many dogs and a few little kids in our family, we decided that next year, some non-runners in the family (such as my mom and my aunt) can also take part in the walk! We also decided that my dad would need to for sure run with us next year, since he has just recently began running (at age 53)! We knew from the moment we arrived that this would be our first of many years as Turkey Trotters, and that we will make it so that everyone in our family will take part to make their Thanksgiving a healthier one!
The footrace itself was rather hectic and somewhat disorganized, namely because I do not believe they expected so many people. We had chip timers on our shoes, but no race bibs (which to me was disappointing, since I like to keep them as souvenirs). However, even after crossing the "Start" line, thus activating our chips, we were walking or running at a VERY slow pace. Apparently, the slower runners did not get the memo to start near the back of the crowd, but hopefully this will be remedied in following years (perhaps with corrals). This slower start was good, however, for my young niece, who can not run at a really fast pace as it is (not yet at least). After about 3/4 of a mile, I took off ahead of my brother and his daughter so that I could perhaps get a somewhat decent time.
The course was uphill the first half, and downhill the second, making a small loop around a classroom building and back. The weather was remarkably warm and sunny, so much so that I ran in just a short sleeved t-shirt and track pants. A slight chill was in the air, making me run a little faster just to keep warm! I crossed the finish line with a time of 18:01, which would equal a 9 minute mile. Not half bad, considering the very slow start we had moseying behind an extremely slow moving crowd. I immediately got some water and a banana, and waited for my brother and niece, who crossed around the 22/23 minute mark! Not half bad! I was very impressed and proud of both of them, but especially my niece of course.
We then took over watching the littlest kids as my sister-in-law and her friend ran the 5 miler. I again was impressed when she came running in with a time of approximately 45 minutes. This was great, given that she had never run a race of that length!
With euphoria and adrenaline from being so active so early, the four of us threw on our official Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot 5K green long sleeved t-shirts and went to my grandmother's to meet the rest of the family. Everyone was very happy for us and intrigued with our proposal that everyone run or walk next year! My dad definitely wished he had run, if not for anything else to get a t-shirt! It will be a great family tradition to wear our matching shirts as we gobble up the calories we burned while running our Turkey Trot each year on Thanskgiving morning.