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Before chomping those turkey legs, get yours moving

The Turkey Trot is going strong in its 29th year, with a chance to burn some calories and help out some good causes.

By TERRI BRYCE REEVES, Times Correspondent
Published November 21, 2007


You don't have to wear a chicken on your head to go to the Turkey Trot, like Cathy Dixon of Largo did last year, but it probably increases your chances of getting your picture in the paper.
photo
[KATHLEEN FLYNN | Times (2006)]
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CLEARWATER  

What would Thanksgiving Day be without the mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and Turkey Trot?

After all, the 10K, 5K and 1-mile run/walk - now in its 29th year - is good for the heart in many ways. The event supports local charities, a food pantry and a wish fund.

And naturally, the exercise is beneficial for those who plan to wolf down some turkey and trimmings later.

Ask Kevin Lyons, 22, who runs about 80 miles a week.

"My resting heart rate is about 42," he said.

Lyons, an investment banking analyst for Raymond James, has been a competitive runner since he was 12. At Harvard, he ran varsity cross-country and track for three years.

Last year, he was the first man in the history of the race to win both the 5K and 10K events.

"It was tough. It was an extremely ambitious goal with so many talented runners in the Tampa Bay area," he said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to go all out for the 5K this year or save some energy and do the 10K, too."

Feeling a bit breathless and out of shape? Don't worry. This event is for everyone, runner or walker. About 16,000 showed up last year.

Joyce Rogers, who's helping her husband, Skip, organize the event, said the registration fee is up slightly this year, so fewer people may show up. But it's still a bargain, she said.

"It's a good price for a family race and every participant gets a T-shirt," she said. Participants also are treated to goodies after the race.

If you plan to attend, shake your tail feathers early - parking areas will be packed.

The 5K 3.1-mile Wingding begins at 7:30 a.m., the Gobbler (1-mile) at 8:30 and the 10K (6.2-mile) Turkey Trot at 8:45.

The runners and walkers will depart from Keene Road, south of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, and finish at Clearwater High School's Jack White Stadium. The race is not open to bikers, skaters or animals.

Participants should line up according to speed, with slower-moving walkers at the back of the crowd. Noncompetitive wheelchair participants and those with strollers are asked to start in the back, as well.

"If they don't do this, it can be dangerous," Rogers said.

Fees for the races are $8 for the Gobbler ($10 on race day) and $12 for the Wingding and the Turkey Trot ($18 on race day).

There is one remaining early-registration and pickup site for T-shirts. Those who have registered in advance must bring their race number with them.

Wednesday is the Turkey Trot kickoff party and the last chance for advanced registration. The event is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Jack White Stadium at Clearwater High School, 540 S Hercules Ave.

Sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times, the event supports charities including the West Florida Y Runners Club scholarship programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County and the Children's Heart Foundation.

Organizers ask that people bring canned goods and nonperishable food items to Jack White Stadium on race day.

Food items will be donated to the Food Bank at Religious Community Services. Monetary donations will also be accepted for the Mason Dixon's Christmas Wish Fund.

For more information, visit tampabay.com/turkeytrot or call (727) 562-4700.

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

If you go

2007 Turkey Trot

When: Thursday

The 5K (3.1-mile) Wingding begins at 7:30 a.m. The Gobbler (1-mile) starts at 8:30 a.m. and the 10K (6.2-mile) Turkey Trot at 8:45 a.m.

Where: Runners and walkers will depart from Keene Road, south of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, and finish at Clearwater High School's Jack White Stadium.

Cost: Fees are $8 for the Gobbler ($10 race day) and $12 for the Wingding and the Turkey Trot ($18 on race day).

Contributions: Please bring canned goods and non-perishable food items to the Jack White Stadium at Clearwater High School on race day.

[Last modified November 20, 2007, 20:56:09]


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