Turkey trotters treasure goodies
By BOB PUTNAM
Published November 19, 2006
CLEARWATER - The Times Turkey Trot presents a huge logistical challenge for organizers.
There are the street closings, the arrival of thousands of runners and the balancing act of creating a race environment that accommodates elite runners aiming for top times and more casual participants content to complete the course at a leisurely pace.
And then there is the task of assembling coffee mugs for the top 100 male and female finishers of the 5K and 10K races and the T-shirts for every runner who registers.
"People want those T-shirts and those coffee mugs," race director Skip Rogers said. "They have become a treasured thing."
Marathoners spend months training for the race, frequently travel to be part of the festivities that unfold on the city's pavement and endure exertion and pain to finish. And yet many seem to focus on the goodies, a race staple that has taken on a life of its own within race organizing.
In 2004 and '05, organizers gave away "gobble-bobbles" instead of coffee mugs to the top 100 male and female runners in the 5K and 10K races.
Each jiggling turkey doll had a caricature-like head and body by a metal spring to the feet. Around its neck was a bronze medallion.
Last year, Rogers said the committee stopped giving away the bobbleheads and went back to the coffee mugs.
"I think the bobbleheads ran the course," Rogers said. "People were asking again about the coffee mugs."
The T-shirts are popular, too. Three years ago, Anna Babyak, then 71, made a quilt from all the T-shirts she has worn in Turkey Trot walks.
"These things have become collector items," Rogers said.
Rogers expects more than 12,000 people to participate in the Thanksgiving Day races: the 5K (3.1-mile) Wingding that sets off at 7:30 a.m., the 1-mile Gobbler at 8:30 a.m. or the 10K (6.2-mile) Turkey Trot at 8:45 a.m.
All races begin at Keene Road just south of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and end at Jack White Stadium at Clearwater High School.
The last chance to register in advance will be at the race kickoff party from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the stadium.
The prices in advance are $7 for the 1-mile Gobbler and $10 for the 5K Wingding or 10K Turkey Trot.
On race day, the fees rise to $9 and $15, respectively.
Off to the races
The 28th annual Times Turkey Trot will be Thanksgiving Day at Jack White Stadium at Clearwater High, 540 S Hercules Ave. These races begin on Keene Road south of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard:
- 5K Wingding, a 3.1-mile course, starting at 7:30 a.m.
- 1-mile Gobbler, a fitness run/walk, starting at 8:30 a.m.
- 10K Turkey Trot, a 6.2-mile course, starting at 8:45 a.m.
- A kickoff party will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jack White Stadium. This is the last chance to register in advance (exact amounts in cash or check). There will be snacks, live music and games.
- On-site registration begins on race day at 6 a.m. Fees are higher on race day.
[Last modified November 18, 2006, 20:58:14]
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