Race Report: Trot Off Your Turkey 5K Turkey Trot

turkey trot

Great T-Shirt design at the Trot Off Your Turkey 5K. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

The Trot Off Your Turkey 5K in Barrington, R.I., in Saturday, November 30 was, I’m amazed to say, my very first Turkey Trot in seven years of racing.

It was a fantastic local event with 637 runners in the 5K and 229 in the 1.5-mile run/walk. I loved everything about this race, from the flat course and bountiful post-race spread to the great T-shirt design and warm, community vibe.

It was 28 degrees at the start, so my husband, Phil, and I bundled up for a brisk run on a cloudless, blue-sky day.

A food drive and raffle raised money for TapIn, an all-volunteer, outreach program that provides food, clothing, household goods, transportation and other services to local residents in need.

The main event was a fundraiser for St. Luke’s School, where the race was held. Bib pick-up and the raffle were inside the school gym, which I very much appreciated since it was so cold outside.

Turkey Trot

The race raised money for St. Luke’s School. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I’d pre-purchased six raffle tickets with my registration. You got to choose which items you wanted to draw for. A table with all the items sat in a corner of the gym with buckets in front of each to put your tickets in.

turkey trot

The raffle benefited TapIn, a local food bank and community outreach organization. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

As I got my tickets, organizers were calling runners out to the start, so I hurriedly placed my tickets in a few buckets without completely reading what they were for.

Then Phil and I dashed off to the start, where we were toward the back of the pack. The horn blasted as soon as we got there.

Turkey Trot

We’re ready to run! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

There were no timing chips. Runners were timed the old-fashioned way. The gun time, not net, is your final time. At the finish, you’re shuttled into a single-file chute, where a race official takes a rip-off tab from the bottom of your bib and places it in order on a spike. A timer stands at the finish, writing down bib numbers and finish times.

turkey trot

The course map and results. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

The course was flat and fast as promised with a start and finish at St. Luke’s Church and School, touring runners around a lake and quiet residential streets.

Turkey Trot

Runners Trot Off Their Turkey in Rhode Island. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I started my watch with the horn, but we didn’t actually cross the start for 10-15 seconds. Since I started at the back of the pack, I spent the entire race passing people. It’s such a mental boost, rather than being passed. Being in the back also helped me start slowly and ease into a good clip.

By the 1-mile mark, I was pushing hard and it actually felt good. There were no mile-markers on the course so I just checked my watch every so often.

At two miles, a volunteer was on the side of the road calling out times. With one mile to go, I knew I was in personal record territory, so I pushed just a bit harder as I saw the church and school come into sight.

I crossed the finish in 24:46 at a 7:59 pace, which is a new 5K PR. I am deliriously happy with that.

Turkey Trot

The Trot Off Your Turkey 5K and 1.5-mile run was my first Turkey Trot. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Earlier this summer, I ran a 3-mile PR of 23:22 at a 7:47 pace at the end of a triathlon, but I was almost certain the course was a bit short at 2.9 miles. So my pace there was really 8:03. Still a PR—my previous 5K PR was 26:45—but not quite sub-8 pace.

The Trot Off Your Turkey 5K was a measured 3.1 miles, and my GPS watch actually agreed. So pace over pace, this topped even my 3-mile effort this summer.

Considering I didn’t even cross the start right away, I know my net time was even faster that 24:46. Plus, I had more gas left in the tank. I didn’t finish this race redlining as I have done a few times this year.

It feels good to end the year on a high. It also confirms what I already knew: I’m a much stronger 5K and 10K runner than half-marathoner and marathoner.

turkey trot

Turkey Soup! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

With the finish line behind me, I headed into the gym for some post-race turkey soup. It was warm and delicious with big chunks of white meat.

turkey trot

Yum! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Plus, there were doughnuts, muffins, bagels, pizza, bananas, oranges, chips, salsa—a truly impressive spread.

turkey trot

Some of the post-race spread. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I checked the raffle winners to discover that I won! When I was doling out my raffle tickets, I saw a bucket that read, “Warren Animal Hospital.” Being a dog lover and dog mommy, I threw my ticket in.

I won a large gift box complete with toys, food, treats, shampoo and more…for your cat.

turkey trot

I won! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I had a good laugh. Another runner saw me hauling it away and said: “I bet you don’t even have a cat.”

“Nope! I don’t!” I said. We both laughed. One of my cat-owning friends will be getting a very nice gift soon.

I found Phil, who’d run his own 5K PR in 19:44, finishing 47th overall among 637 runners and 39th among 340 men. I finished 166th overall and 39th among 297 women. It’s definitely one of my best finishes ever.

My first Turkey Trot was a resounding success, and a great way to finish off my 2013 racing season with turkey soup in hand.

Turkey Trot

Turkey Soup tasted great after running in 28 degrees! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Here’s to 2014!

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a regular contributor to SHAPE.com, TV host for events like the Panasonic New York City Triathlon + race announcer at events like the TCS New York City Marathon. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 7 marathons, 22 halves, 6 triathlons, moonlights as a wedding singer, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

    Follow Along:
  • facebook
  • googleplus
  • pinterest
  • twitter
  • youtube


12 2013

15 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Awesome job on the PR!!!! That’s so funny about the prize, but I am sure whichever cat ends up with it will be really pleased… maybe not with the shampoo because that means a bath (yikes!) but cats love to lay in boxes :)
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..Who Stole My Early Morning Running Motivation? + a Funny ComicMy Profile

  2. 3

    Yay for a PR! (I have yet to run a timed 5k event, how crazy is that!?!)

    It sounds like your Thanksgiving Day race was a much more enjoyable experience than mine. The Manchester Road Race was basically just 15,000 people tripping over each other for 5 miles! Glad I did it once but I don’t see that race being in my future again any time soon!
    Danielle recently posted..Weekly Training RecapMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I can’t believe you haven’t run a timed 5K! I actually haven’t run that many of them either. I think I’ve done more marathons! Sorry the Manchester race was a bust. That’s how I felt about the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in DC. Glad I did it, but it was SO crowded I’m not clamoring to do it again unless I know they’ve solved the crowding issues.
      Karla Bruning recently posted..Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 1My Profile

  3. 5

    Awesome PR! You clearly have been putting in more effort into your running than I have since Toronto! I’m struggling just to finish 5 k right now. Months of training, then you take a break and it’s like starting all over again :(
    Kristi recently posted..A Special Awards NightMy Profile

  4. 7

    Woohoo! Great PR!

    So nice that the post-race food was given someplace indoors. And the spread is very impressive looking.

    People definitely have a distance that’s their best distance. I’m beginning to think that 5-mile race is mine.
    Elle recently posted..Thankful Redemption at the Westfield 5 Mile Turkey TrotMy Profile

  5. 11

    That’s great! Funny about the cat prize. As you say, a perfect way to finish the year of racing. You should pick out more 5s and 10s to race in 2014 — with chip timing and practise you’ll improve your PBs even more. Well done to Phil too — great time and place.
    Ewen recently posted..Melbourne City2Sea Fun RunMy Profile

  6. 13

    YAY!! Congrats on the Turkey trot! I love hot soup after cold races, a lot of the ones around here are really good about doing that!

    Bummer you got a prize you won’t use but better than nothing I suppose! I don’t have a cat either, never been a big fan (they don’t like me either)
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..CIM Taper Week 1My Profile

  7. 15

    Congratulations on your first Turkey Trot and nabbing yourself a PR while you’re at it! I had wanted to do a Turkey Trot this year, but with so much baking to do for Thanksgiving, I just didn’t have the time :(

    And congratulations on your raffle victory! Although you couldn’t use the gift, at least it seems to have added to the overall enjoyment of this experience. Yay for fun races! :)


  1. Runner's World Holiday Running Streak: Week 1 | Run, Karla, Run! 04 12 13
  2. Best Gifts For Runners 2013: Karla's Favorite Things | Run, Karla, Run! 11 12 13
  3. Running Goals For 2014: I Feel The Need For Speed | Run, Karla, Run! 06 01 14
  4. Race Report: Run For The Parks 4-Mile Run in NYC's Central Park | Run, Karla, Run! 06 04 14
  5. I'm in SHAPE Magazine! Running Diva Dash Minneapolis with EAS | Run, Karla, Run! 08 04 14
  6. Race Report: Runner's World 5K at Heartbreak Hill Half | Run, Karla, Run! 10 07 14
  7. Win TCS New York City Marathon 2014 Entry With ASICS | Run, Karla, Run! 26 07 14
  8. Run A Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Or Food-Themed Race | Run, Karla, Run! 25 11 14

Your Comment

CommentLuv badge