FINDING YOUR “TURKEY TROT” RACE MAY ITSELF BE A CHALLENGE! THIS USUALLY SIMPLE TASK IS LIKELY TO BE COMPLICATED THIS YEAR because many traditionally organized Thanksgiving Day events will have been cancelled. Due to concerns that even modest gatherings may lead to the spread of coronavirus infection the most prudent action by organizers has been to issue an early cancellation proclamation. Thus, checking a favorite race website now is likely to provide status information.
For those who had planned to participate as first timers or return to a favorite race that won’t be held again until November 2021, the search for a “turkey trot” (the generic name for a Thanksgiving holiday fun run or walk) might be frustrating. I’m in the latter situation; my neighborhood 8K race has been cancelled.
That turkey trots are scheduled to occur on the Thanksgiving holiday makes then uniquely local by nature. As people across the country gather at the homes or in towns that are important to their personal histories and relationships, the races they hope to join are more often convenient and folksy small town-ish affairs than high-powered performance contests. Most of us are traveling or staying put not to compete, but to be together.
The predominant purpose of travel, even if a short distance over that long weekend, tends to be the enjoyment of a highly anticipated feast later in the afternoon, not the morning’s exercise. However, intra- and inter-family/friend ‘battles’ may be the traditional highlight of some Thursday gathering, intended to be fought on the 5k-10k or longer road courses of these turkey trots. The prize to be won is bragging rights that will stand until the next Thanksgiving. Still, good natured rivalry tends to rule this holiday.
On this November 26, 2020 morning there’s a good chance you will not wish to transport yourself to a faraway location’s alternate race if the hometown event is cancelled. Fortunately, some turkey trots will be converted to virtual events that will be nearly as much or perhaps more fun to join. But small charities and booster groups may not want to chance hosting a ‘virtual’ that might be poorly attended or expend the needed effort and assume responsibility to mail packets and medals.
What are we to do this year if a perfect turkey trot solution doesn’t present itself? Earned Runs suggests that you consider running a personal race, either with others or solo, or in-spirit with distant participants. Create a custom turkey trot that meets the needs of everyone, everywhere that weekend; request bibs now to build excitement and motivate training.
I sometimes run a locally organized Thanksgiving Day race in a nearby town, either with visiting family or on my own. Lately, because our family plans for this holiday gathering have changed from year to year and are often finalized too close to that date to risk registering for an organized event, I favor running a personal race wearing an Earned Runs bib with a Turkey Trot sticker. It might be along a customary neighborhood course or one mapped out where I’m visiting
In this situation, my Earned Runs bib affords me the greatest flexibility to be a part of the countrywide running and walking celebration that occurs on Thanksgiving, to enjoy family, and to keep my many year streak alive of participating in turkey trot- like events.
Take time now to determine what options are available for your turkey trot experience. In years past it has been possible to wake up Thanksgiving morning and decide on the spot to join an event. This year, fun-running or -walking in one may require a bit of advance planning*. Don’t put off checking and risk being disappointed. It’s the biggest running day of the year in the USA.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*EnMotive is attempting to organize the “largest community turkey trot in history”, according to a RunningUSA news release September 2. You might want to check out the event roster.
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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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