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 is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.

About The Author

Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.

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Author his web sitehttp://runkarlarun.com


12 2013

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  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

    • 4

      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! 🙂
    Kellie recently posted..Weeks in Training (and I Made Some Stuff) 11/18 – 12/8My Profile


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