For Run! Turkey Run!, the emphasis is on fun


Run! Turkey Run! and Montana Stars

It was a bit warmer last year for the Run! Turkey Run! race, but streets were icy and the wind was blowing.

Thanksgiving Day is not shaping up to be the perfect day for a road race.

But the organizers of Run! Turkey Run! did not schedule the event for late November in Montana because they wanted perfect conditions.

The event, with a 5K road race and a mile dash, is as much about fun as it is about run, and the cause fits the day to a T: raising money to alleviate hunger on the day Americans set aside for feasting and giving thanks.

Run! Turkey Run! has raised about $100,000 in its first four years, donating all proceeds to Meals on Wheels, Family Service Inc., the Billings Food Bank and the BackPack Meals Program.

Race co-director Stephanie Kirkpatrick said about 2,200 people had registered as of Tuesday. That’s well short of the 2,900 who participated in the race last year, but registration has always fluctuated, Kirkpatrick said, sometimes with an early burst and sometimes with a flood of last-minute registrants.

And though temperatures hit a high of 52 last Thanksgiving, conditions this year might not be far from those of last year. It was considerably cooler than 52 during the morning race last year, for one thing. For another, there was six inches of snow on the ground and many streets, Kirkpatrick said, were “like a skating rink.”

The high tomorrow is forecast at 22, with some sunshine and light winds.

Packet pickup and late registration will be available today from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Good Earth Market, 3024 Second Ave. N. You can also register Thursday morning from 7 to 8:30 just inside the deli entrance of the Good Earth.

“Good Earth has graciously offered to open their doors and have some coffee for us,” Kirkpatrick said, and Rock Creek Coffee Roasters is also donating some java.

The 5K race will start at 9 a.m. in front of the Good Earth, and the mile race will start at 10 a block west of the market. (Complete details available on the! Turkey Run! website.)

Because the emphasis is on fun, many runners wear costumes for the race, and there will be a costume contest. Judging for that takes place at 8:45 at the starting line. Awards for costumes and the two races will be given out at 10:30 near the finish line.

There will also be more treats at the finish line—local microbrews for adult runners, as well as root beer, hot chocolate and coffee. Stella’s Kitchen & Bakery will be donating bread, bagels and its always-popular cinnamon rolls.

The rolls might be too popular, in Kirkpatrick’s view. Every year she’s tried to finish up her race-day chores in time to grab one of the cinnamon rolls. It hasn’t happened yet.

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