Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Trot has calories to burn

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: 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.

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Live north of town? Try the smaller Lake Norman Turkey Trot. Details at


Anonymous said...

I a runner who was ready to say no more to the Turkey Trot because of the confusion between 5k walkers and 8k runners at the start and then the total breakdown of the finishing area. I will give this race one more try since it has been brought to the race organizers's atttention in such a public way that these are two problems in an otherwise great event. I will have to live with the after race refreshments as is. I seem to remember most finishers wanting something to drink besides water. If I decide I want something else, I will run up to the drugstore and buy my own drink. Hope everything goes off as well as the race organizers have plabbed.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the largest race in Charlotte has few sponsors! Someone is really missing an opportunity to reach a lot of potential customers.

Thanks Scott for putting this on! I know it's a lot of work for you to do on a holiday and that it takes you from your family, so I really do appreciate your efforts.

I look forward to this race every year!

chupacabra said...

This is a really fun race just for the show. There are always people dressed up and I always run into someone I haven't seen for a while. I don't get all hung up on the after party because I think like most people I have to get back home. I don't recall ever eating anyting there other than maybe an orange slice because there is way way too much food waiting for me at home to bother with anything at the race.

good luck everyone

Anonymous said...

Great event. Worst race t- Shirt ever! Scary man/bird must go.

chupacabra said...

I have to agree about the half man half turkey on the shirt. My neighbor's 5-year-old is completley creeped out by my shirt. He got called down for saying it was ugly but hey the truth shall set you free so I told him that I agree. :)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the ugly man/bird on the front. That thing is HORRIBLE! But other than the awful shirt, it is a really fun race. It's definitely not a race you want to try and PR. It's a great way to burn some calories and have fun with friends before you go stuff your face!

Anonymous said...

yeah the logo is pretty scary/worst idea ever. i want charlotte running company to read these comments so that they can change it for this year.