One of the first things I did when we planned our Thanksgiving vacation was find a local Turkey Trot. I’ve already checked Georgia off my list for races in all 50 states, but that didn’t matter. It would be fun to run in the mountains.
The truth is that not everyone likes waking up at the crack of dawn for running on their vacation, so I told our travel buddies that they were welcome to join, but no pressure. In the end, the four ladies opted in. The men stayed home to cook breakfast and get the turkey started.
Race Morning + Packet Pickup
The Blue Ridge Turkey Trot was scheduled to start at 8:00AM, with packet pickup starting at 7. Our cabin was about 30 minutes away, and up a mountain, so we left at 6:15. That way we could take our time, find parking, get our things, and not have to rush on the steep and curving roads.
We parked in the indicated church parking lot in downtown Blue Ridge. It was a super quick walk to the packet pickup, and we got manila envelopes with our bibs, pins, and shirts inside, since we had pre-registered. I appreciated the organization – it also ensured that pre-registered runners got their guaranteed shirts in the correct size.
After a restroom (real) stop, we went back to the car to sit in the warmth until race start. We brought some homemade pumpkin bread in the car for pre-race fuel, and that was perfect.
The Start Line
Friends, I did exactly zero research on this race. I didn’t know the route or the perks – really, all I knew was that we would be in Blue Ridge, and there was no medal. Which was a bummer, but I was there for the experience. It was chilly (in the low 40s) and I was a little annoyed that I didn’t bring shorts, although I was glad to have gloves and a buff.
We lined up at the start line, and I spent time saying hi to all the dogs. There were a lot of dogs, and was so happy.
Did we have a strategy? J and I were going to run our internals and the girls were going to do what felt right (they aren’t runners, but were also there for the experience). The race director counted down to 8:00, and we were off.
Huffing For The Stuffing
The Turkey Trot was a lot of back and forth on parallel roads. We left the start line, and headed downhill through downtown Blue Ridge on one side of the train tracks, then took a left and ran back the other way on the other side of the tracks. Uphill. The route continued past the downtown, and we turned right, up a steeper hill to hit another straightway. This road was just rolling hills and it was a lot for us Floridians.
We kept going, turned left, ran back over the train tracks, and then back up the original street.
At this point, I was gettin hot, and took down the buff and tucked my gloves away. I was actually considering taking off my long sleeve, but figured we only had about a mile left so I could suck it up.
The start line was getting closer, and for a moment, we thought the race was ending before 3.1 miles. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Runners had to stay to the left of the finish line and continue down about .35 miles and back again. Was that soul-crushing? A little. Did we do it? Of course.
And then we settled in to wait for the girls, who finished strong!
The Finish Line and Final Thoughts
So this was a blast. It’s always good to run in new places, and I’m glad we got to start our Thanksgiving with a race.
It was a nice, hometown style event, with less than 750 finishers. The course was nice and well marked. I loved the shirt, too. In addition to no medal, there were also no water stops (5Ks in Florida always seem to have at least one) and I don’t think anything at the finish line. For me, no big deal – I’m not looking for hydration in colder temps like that, but it was different.
Would I do it again? Happily!
And as a bonus, we were hungry for the feast ahead!
Did you Turkey Trot? Ever run in the mountains?
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