By conservative estimates, the average American will hork down about 2,000 calories at dinner on Thanksgiving -- which is like eating 2-1/2 double Quarter Pounders with cheese at one sitting ... which is, like, painful to even think about.
But you can burn off some holiday calories preemptively (so long as you don't need to be at home manning the oven) by participating in the 21st annual Charlotte SouthPark Turkey Trot.
Between 5,500 and 6,000 participants are expected to run/walk events covering distances of 8 kilometers, 5 kilometers, 1 mile, and 26.2 yards. The cost to participate in the 8K is $27 online or $30 in person ($40 on race day -- if the event isn't sold out by then), and the starting gun for the 8K and 5K is at 9 a.m. Thursday.
We got answers this weekend to some of our burning questions about the big event from co-race director Scott Dvorak, owner of Charlotte Running Company.
Q. Remind us where the hills are on the 8K course?
Scott Dvorak: There aren't any really major hills on the course except at the finish. There's a slight climb as as you come up Barclay Downs and turn right onto Runnymeade, but aside from that the climb up Morrison is the only major hill, and it's at the finish, so you don't really notice it.
Q. One issue that comes up every time I talk to people about this race is the crowding. Is there a plan to ease this?
Dvorak: That was one of the major points of discussion last year. This year, we will have separate finishes for the 5K and the 8K ... we will be splitting the runners and walkers as the come up Morrison, so that the runners can have a clear path and are not running into the walkers at the finish. ... We also do still place temporary fencing near the finish to keep people from entering that area.
Q. I've also heard some complaints about how drinks aren't available right after crossing the finish line. Is this just a logistical thing?
Yes. Part of the issue regarding the water being placed on Roxborough -- 150 meters down from the finish -- is that it's just not possible to have the large volume of runners and family milling around for water and food right at the finish. We have to have it in an area that can handle that large amount of people. The parking lot right next to the finish just can't handle those numbers, so Roxborough is the best alternative.
Q. What kind of post-race food and drinks are going to be available?
We will have Owen's bagels available, as well as oranges and water at the finish. What we've found over the years is that much of the food was going uneaten, which has led us to cut back on what is offered. Participants were more interested in getting home then hanging around. This event is a little different than most races in that we operate off very little sponsorship, both in cash and in kind. We've attempted to try and lure restaurants out to have food available for the event, but given that it's a holiday, it just hasn't worked out.
Q. Why is the 5K listed as a "Walk"?
The 5K is listed as a walk because there aren't any age group awards nor chip timing. That being said, we do have people that run it every year.
Q. What do you enjoy most about putting on this race?
To me, the most enjoyable aspect of the event is that it truly is a family event. There's something for everyone, and I love how entire families will come out and participate. To me, it really is what Thanksgiving is all about, family coming together!
More info: www.charlotteturkeytrot.com. The event benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Youth Ministry and Outreach program at Sharon United Methodist Church. (Dvorak says he expects to give about $10,000 to those two charities this year.)
And -- since you'll burn 100 calories per mile -- the event helps you, too. So long as you resist that second piece of pie.
Live north of town? Try the smaller Lake Norman Turkey Trot. Details at www.buttar.com.