IT’S NOVEMBER. LET’S TALK TURKEY TROTS!
Small Business Saturday 2017 is the weekend after Thanksgiving Day, on November 25. According to a Wikipedia entry, the first SBS event was held in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts on the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2010, “sponsored by American Express Corporation, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation,” Roslindale Village Main Street, and the mayor of Boston.
A November 26, 2016 BLOG post (RUNNING MOJO) encouraged runners and walkers to include running specialty stores on the list of hometown shops they hoped to hit on this day. “These small store owners and their employees must work incredibly hard to meet and beat the challenges of the competition” which makes them very responsive to customers and a great place to find shoes that fit feet and needs. They are as much a part of “Main Street” as the locally-owned independent coffee shop. We shop there because we like the products/services being offered and because we want them to survive into the future.
A similar encouragement, “Run Local”, or more appropriately, "TROT LOCAL" might be given for Thanksgiving Thursday, with regard to patronizing local events. Increasing in popularity, "turkey trots" seem to be starting up across the country, making it easy to locate one nearby. Many are organized by small but enthusiastic civic, church, or charity groups, and designed to raise funds that support hometown causes, making Thanksgiving a perfect day to "trot local".
You may be under the impression that most races are "local" . It appears that some competitive events might now belong to business empires that concentrate on the endurance sports industry. According to an article from Fortune.com, the Chinese company Dalian Wanda owns WTI… which recently purchased Competitor group (running.competitor.com)... which owns the Rock N Roll Series, and the World Triathlon Corp. (Iron Man Triathlons). The item reports that Wanda also has established a partnership with the World Marathon Majors (WMM) group involved with six worldwide big city marathons in New York City, Boston, Chicago, London, Berlin, and Tokyo.
Sir Richard Branson has entered the running market with “Virgin Sports”, adding this entity to the existing 30+ Virgin brands and 58 companies around the world that include casinos and involve space travel. Mary Wittenberg, former president and CEO of the New York Road Runners, which oversees the NYC Marathon, has been engaged to help with the effort as CEO (Chief Exercise Officer).
The description of Spartan Race, Inc., on a Bloomberg.com entry says it “organizes a series of obstacle race events. It offers apparel, footwear, sports gear, and sports accessories for men, women, and kids online." Spartan has partnered with Reebok/adidas and NBC.
Charity events can be national efforts too, like those that fund research to fight terrible diseases like breast cancer, autism spectrum disorders, and dementia.
This discussion is NOT meant to shine a negative light on corporate-owned or franchise competitive events. Consolidation is occurring in many industries. The endurance sport industry is changing with the rest of the world.
But if we value having the opportunity to shop at a local village store as well as a big-box warehouse, mega-mall, or online, we must support that business with our business. The same should be understood with regard to local races. It just happens that Thanksgiving may be the PERFECT HOLIDAY to make a point of supporting local events!
I’ve listened in when friends and acquaintances discuss their annual participation in a "turkey trot". Many are not runners, and they may not walk regularly for exercise. But they sign up and pay a small-ish registration fee (sometimes just before race time!), put on the t-shirt, and walk together anyway, just because everyone else is having fun doing so. They report feeling stiff, and out of shape and breath. No one seems to mind if a race is not chip-timed or that finisher medals are skipped to save funds for the sponsored charity.
This year I cannot RUN a “turkey trot”, but I think I’ll enter and WALK the small town 8K* I ran last year, in which I finished first in my age group. The numbers in my age bracket are small. Because I prepare the big dinner later in the day there’s always a possibility there will be a mini-crisis and participation will be out of the question. But by registering I will have supported the local race and its cause, so that hopefully it will be held next year too, and beyond.
I’ll wear my Earned Runs BIB over a distance of 5-8k regardless of the circumstances, as will our near-and-far family members!
*Zeeland "8K Before You Eat"
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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