A little Rain…Turkey Trot 2007David Yon, November 24, 2007
Into each life, a little rain must fall.
Somewhere around 3:30 a.m. the morning of Turkey Trot a light mist descended on Shumard Oaks less than a quarter mile from the start of the race. It was the beginning of the end of a long streak of wonderful weather for the Tallahassee Turkey Trot. It didn’t take long for the heavens to open up and wash away most of the chalk that had been so carefully laid the night before.
The rain assured the turnout for the 2007 Turkey Trot would not extend the record streak of participants. This year’s race was well on its way to another record turnout before the rains fell as more than 2580 runners had registered by the time the gun went off to start the races. For several hours it rained as if the heavens were angry pounding the volunteers who dared show up early and forcing runners who showed up to hide in their cars and under the cover of any overhang they could find in the state office building complex. My phone started ringing and on the other end of the line the questions sprang: “Will we run in this?” Yes, I said. “My volunteers are saying they can’t make it,” the voice answered. “Then we will do the best we can without them,” I responded. And I prepared to do just that.
As the start time for the one mile race approached the streets were empty. The registration crew was seemed ready, but without much to do. But later a runner reported, “Someone must be here because the parking lot is full.” And sure enough, 1250 runners and walkers did show. And I dare say, they did so without any regrets. And the volunteers also found their way to Eatz Cafe and the start area of the race. Of course there are the “core” people who volunteer and you know they will swim to the race if necessary to be there. They will make sure the U-Haul is in place and the water stops are set up and the finish line staffed. But there are the non-runners who don’t understand why anyone would run in the rain who you wonder about. They are the ones I thought would roll over and sleep to the sound of the rain pounding on their roofs. I was so convinced they were – like the chalk – being washed away by the rain that I did not even figure out how to get them to their spots on the course. But two or three at time they found me and said “reporting for duty.” And before I knew it, they vast majority were there and ready to make sure the 2007 Turkey Trot was a success. I can not say enough good things about these folks.
Nor could I ever say it better than Paula Kiger did in her email to me:
I learned long ago that no weather event can keep Gulf Winds people away from participating in an event, but I was amazed when I drove up Thursday morning and there were all of the volunteer stations manned — someone directing traffic, etc. etc. I know why runners come out to run, but the fact that volunteers would come out when it is such nasty weather speaks volumes to their selflessness.
I really, really appreciate everything you (and others) put into the Turkey Trot this year. I know the weather was exactly what you didn’t want, but our family had a great time “running in the rain.” It was a perfect start to the day.
So this year’s story is “hats off” to the many volunteers who, while not hard core runners, braved the wet conditions to make this event happen. They did an amazing job of keeping approximately 1250 runners on the right path while encouraging them to run their best on a wet day.
And hats are also off to Jay Wallace and Sheryl Rosen who sloshed through the wet conditions to claim the 15K titles in times of 54:37 and 59:52. Not too far behind Jay was Valdosta runner Todd Smoot who finished in 55:15. Jay, who has wrapped up the GWTC grand prix title, pulled away around the five mile mark and never looked back. Sheryl was never challenged as Lisa Giblin grabbed second place with a time of 1:04:13 more than four minutes back. The winners grabbed top prize money of $250. Tim Unger and Jane Johnson took home the masters titles in 57:32 and 1:07:52.
In the 10K, Alex Brickler claimed his second straight title by running 34:56 to best Brian Potts of Marietta who ran 35:40 to take second place. On the women’s side Michelle Sikes from Lakewood, Ohio ran 41:52 to claim the title. Second place went to Gina Snider who finished in 42:25. Paul Hoover stepped up to win the masters title with a time of 42:23. Julie Clark, leader of a Turkey Trot training group, won the women’s masters title in 47:15. The winners claimed the top prize of $150.
Stephan Smith burned up the 5K course to win in a time of 15:37 as he put the hammer down to beat former Chiles teammate Stan Reecy who grabbed second in 16:28. The masters title went to Michael Martinez who broke the 17:00 minute barrier with a time of 16:55. On the ladies side it was Micah Adriani taking the top spot in 18:39, while Maria Harper, another Chiles runner, took second in 19:10. The masters title went to Alice Smoot. Alice ran 20:28 to claim that title. The mile race saw female runner Jesse Todd cross the line first with a time of 6:56, the only runner to crack the 7:00 barrier in the mile. The first male was Kyle Cox in a time of 7:04. The 5K winners also claimed $150 in prize money.
The rain impacted the One Mile Turkey Gobbler the most. Last year over 523 runners finished that race, while this year only 188 made the loop. It is the race that kids choose to run and it is certainly understandable why parents would not want their kids out in the bad weather conditions. But GWTC Hall of Famer, Ray Hanlon, was quick to note that the kids who braved the weather had a great time. In fact, there was a giant puddle near the finish line that more than one child went out of his or her way to splash through. The 5K was also hit hard by the rain. Last year’s crowd of more than 1200 was reduced to 686. The 10K and 15K runners were the hard cores though. Last year there were 207 finishers in the 15K. This year’s grand prix event brought out 209 hearty souls who understood the joys of running in the rain. The 10K runners were almost as dedicated as 209 runners also crossed the finish line compared to 295 last year.
I have every confidence that this year’s rain will in fact bring good things in the future. I know we learned a lot about our volunteers. If there is a little rain again next year, here’s hoping the runners will learn from the volunteers there is still something well worth showing up for.