The BGCM Turkey Day 5k has been around since 2005 and was run as an 8k up until about 3 years ago, when I started running the race. Its become the most prominent Thanksgiving race in the area and usually draws 500+ people. I’ve had the chance to run this race with my brother Ben the last two years. I paced him to a 21:23 as he was just starting back running and then barely held him off in a brother battle royale last year 19:40 – 19:56. He used to run 17’s in high school and owns a 16:45 PR , so I never know if he’s going to train back into that kind of shape. We had planned to renew the rivalry this year but he didn’t make it up to Columbia until after the race. He said he hasn’t been running much so between that and my gimp recovery it probably would have been close. My cousin’s husband Jason ran it with us last year and was actually in town that morning but opted out because it was “too cold”. Sounds like Trophy!
Although this is a well done race, I can’t help but dread running it because of the course. If there’s anything that kills me its a race course with a hill right away. And oh, does this one have a hill. Basically a mile slog from the Colonial Center all the way to the middle of the Horseshoe on the USC campus before this thing levels out. Like a punch to the gut right off the starting blocks. The rest of the course isnt too bad, except for another short nasty incline at the 1.5 point. And you do get to plunge back down that hill at the end, if you have any strength and oxygen by that point. Its a certified course but also on the long side, about 3.16 by my Garmin history. Oops, sorry for that obscene level of running nerdery.
I get there about an hour early and it is damn cold. Mid 20’s by my car thermometer. I did a couple of miles with the Yerg and Geary. The toe felt like freaking ice block but it got a little looser with the warmup.
We line up for the start and its a big crowd. Brian Talkington is back after his sub 20 from last week. Strictly Running ladies Shannon Iriel, Kenzie Riddle and Linn Hall are representing. Birgit Spann is back after a brutal runway run where it looked like she was going to collapse. And I thought my finishes were intense. Bill Haselden and family, the Diesels, Jason Dimery, the Roofs, Fadels, Mikulas and Golbuses were all on hand. Shiela Subbarao and Ken and Kenneth Vowles were representing TUS, in addition to the Yerg. Meg Weis was there on the road back from being a new mom. Ponamarev, Henry Holt, Hou Yin Chang, and Missy Caughman were also in the crowd.
I lined up first row to avoid the bottleneck of a big race and there’s a woman next to me, race day t shirt on, with a stroller. I was about to tell her she and her child are going to get trampled when Selwyn shouts go and we were off. I do a short sprint to avoid the stampede and what im sure is a pile up behind the stroller and then try to hold back because I know what misery is about to occur. Meg and Ken catch up to me in a mini pack in the early going. Ken had told Kenneth to take it easy at the start because of the hill, but we both notice him leading the race up ahead. Typical teenager. After a quarter mile of flat and we start ascending the Pendleton street monster. Its not crazy steep but it slowly sucks your life away until youre pleading for death by the top. Meg apparently is back training hard because she kicks my ass on this mountain. I can’t see Ken but some beast is breathing down my neck so I assume its him. My the mile mark Meg has already gapped me pretty bad. First split was like 7:02. Thats not too bad considering the mountain climbing. I try to get my wind back on the ensuing straight but damned if the post cliff couch surf is rearing its ugly head again. Ive picked up a shadow too and finally I look over and its that damn Vowles again. We just battled at Shandon Turkey Trot and now its pale late thirties gimp battle royale part II (he’s also coming back from injury). We hit the turnaround hill side by side and I try and surge up the hill. Probably not a good idea because now I’m really dying. Ken repasses me and is a couple of steps ahead. Some rolling hills past the turnaround and we finally hit the mile 2 mark virtually together with the Golbus twins. I think this sets up nicely for me, but damned if Vowles finds some other gear and just drops me. WTH? I try and stay with for a while but I sound like an elephant in heat so I cant push it any harder. The poor Golbus twins are going to have nightmares tonight, no doubt. The last mile is flat to screaming downhill and I just cant make any headway on Ken. In fact, he’s passing other people and even takes down Meg near the Colonial Center. I hear someone trying to blue shoe me but I give it all I have and avoid it, hit the finish at 20:51.
I would be disappointed with the time, but this the same race I did in 19:40 last year at 100 percent, so probably a better performance than the 20:41 at the completely flat Crit. Still sucks to get smoked by Ken, especially since, as I figured, he took the 3rd in AG. We will battle again Vowles! Graham Tribble, who won the CWD a few years back in low 15’s easily took the race in 16:13, followed by Hunter McGahee and Jason Dimery. Leading the way for the women was Holly Ortund of Decatur, GA (always lots of out of towners for a Thanksgiving race) with Kenzie taking second and Cheryl bell of NC third. In the age groups, Parker Roof smoked a 19:49 to finish 2nd in the 2-14. Kenneth didnt listen to dad’s advice and finished with a 20:14 and 2nd in 15-19, with Evan Mikula 3rd. Golbus twins went 1-2 in the F15-19 and chicked me too. Anna Johnson placed third, which I assume was a stroll for her since I believe she’s Dutch Fork’s #1 varsity. Andy Mikula, coming off his SVPC 5 miler win, took 3rd in the 25-29. Brian Talkington took my 35-39 group ahead of the Yerg and Ken. Linn Hall won the women’s 35-39 just ahead of Meg. Shannon barely squeaked out a 4 minute win in the 40-44. Jim Fadel and Joe Roof had a close battle for 1-2 in the 45-49. Barabara Brandenburg and Sherry Fadel took the top two in the women’s 45-49. Birgit Spann eaily won the 50-54 while Bill Haselden took 2nd among the men. Geary destroyed the 55-59 competition by five minutes, just as Patti Lowden easily crushed the 60-64. John Hancock managed third in the 65-69 with coach Spurrier’s wife Jerri winning the female division. Rocky Soderberg had an awesome finishing kick to take the 70+.