With a record number of runners, donated food overflowing a tow trailer and sunny skies with perfect conditions for running, walking or pushing strollers, organizers of the 2012 Turkey Trot were thankful Thursday morning.
Best efforts to count the in-motion crowd on the streets of downtown Russell estimated more than 800 people ran the course after personally delivering more non-perishable food for Helping Hands.
“Last year we had a truck load of food. This year we have a trailer and a Jeep full. It is overflowing,” said organizer Russell High School’s Ruthie Lynd, one of many volunteers with the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I mean, that trailer is stuffed ... and we got a few money donations too!”
As the front runners kept an eye on one another, Russell High School alumni Melissa Knapp of Franklin Furnace took her time at the back of the pack while enjoying the morning with her children, Anna, Jonathan and Abigail. Knapp noted her daughter Abigail has been in the Turkey Trot for six of her seven years.
Throughout the route, friends and family encouraged their runners and walkers, often challenging those with a fast pace to “C’mon! Kick it through the lights!” at intersections or “Sprint to the finish!” as the official clock provided by Tri-State Racer came into view. Others simply chanted the names of friends and family or snapped photos as they passed by. Many who had completed the course and caught their breath gathered in small groups and rooted for everyone who followed, especially when they heard a fatigued trotter say something like, “I just want to lay down.”
While watching for the orange shirts of her grandsons, runner Jody Norman of Russell, expressed her appreciation for the day’s conditions. “I’ve done this probably almost as long as they’ve been doing it. You couldn’t ask for a better morning. We’ve run in snow and rain ... it’s great this year,” she said, adding she also enjoyed the number of participants who added to the festive atmosphere by arriving in costume, or wearing holiday hats, tutus and differently colored socks.
The Turkey Trot is a longstanding tradition for members of the Lochow family of Russell, who gathered in the Super Quik parking lot after crossing the finish line together. “I did it when it first began and there were only five or six of us,” said family patriarch Chuck Lochow. “It’s healthy, and it’s good to see old friends and people you don’t see normally.”
While the Lochow family ran as a pack, each among the group of 10 chuckled and agreed son-in-law Joe Bocook, who was the straggler of the bunch.
Members of the McConda clan also ran together, with five costumed kids among their group of 11. Eli, 6, dressed as a turkey and finished the 10k alongside his grandfather while kicking a scooter, while Autumn, 8, Anora, 6, Max, 2, and 11-month-old Ali dressed as indians. Terri McConda said she and her husband, Joe, have participated in the Turkey Trot for the past four years, although this was the first time they got to do it “with every single family member.”
Charlie Nolen of Greenup and girlfriend Terra Mallory got into the spirit by wearing hats that looked like roast turkeys. “We got them from Amazon.com,” he said after catching his breath.
“This is very nice,” Nolen commented. “Probably one of the nicest things there is around here. It is a great event.”
Organizers weren’t immediately certain of the names of those who crossed the finish line first, although they were certain Jordan Plumblee of Greenville, S.C. was the first to finish this year’s 10k run with a time of 36 minutes and 45 seconds. Plumblee ran with his fiancée, Sarah Turman, and future father-in-law Tim Turman.
Missy Taylor was the first female to cross the 10k line, impressing many observers with a time of 42 minutes and 4 seconds.
Friendly rivals from Russell Middle School and Russell High School ultimately agreed everyone was a winner in their challenge to get the most participants and food contributions, with the winners of the contest being treated to a rendition of “Jingle Bells” at their school. Principals Alan Thompson and Sean Horne joked together near the finish line before deciding they couldn’t label anyone involved as the loser.
“I think it would be fair for both of us to sing to the other school,” Thompson said with a big grin before hugging Horne and complimenting his “Horne’s Hunters” for a job well done.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.