The Shandon Turkey Trot is one of the oldest road races in the state. I’m not sure of the exact start , but the 2009 results say it was the 32nd annual race, so probably over 40 years. While it used to be a huge event, the numbers started dropping off in the past decade with all the Thanksgiving competition. Luckily the Shandon neighborhood council sought out the help of Erin Roof and GRIT in 2019, who rebranded the race, changed the date to Black Friday and converted a double loop 8k course into a flat and fast 5k. The result has been a revival of the race, with over 500 registrants this year.
And one of them is THE TURKEY. I mean, if there’s a costume contest, I’m in. And while some people are content on accepting the limitations of a ridiculous bulky outfit, I assure you I am not. I mean, this is CRC points crunch time. But of all the Blue Shoe costumes, this is definitely the most challenging. Giant plush belly, huge wings and a big floppy tail. Not exactly aerodynamic. Add a turkey face hood with a gobbler and the thing is just hideous. The only good thing is one giant hole for your legs, so you can pull it up like a skirt when you run. So sexy.
And of course the only thing better than a standard blue shoeing is a blue shoeing in an absurd giant turkey costume. And while I cherish the avian beatdown I gave Regan last year, my favorite was an all out sprint on Woodrow street in 2019 to take down some then-unknown elite looking female. She turned out to be Jessa Wigington. Yeah, we’ll get back to that.
Fast forward to this year, and I am feeling pretty beat. Double dip on Saturday, an IPA-fueled Sleigh Bell 4 miler on Monday, and an all-out effort on Thanksgiving trying to scrounge some points against high schoolers. But at least I was primed for speed. I mean weekdays are usually for my slog jogs. I showed up an hour early and it’s kinda gross out. There had been some rain and it felt like 60s and humid. I didn’t even warm up in the suit, fearing it would get wet, and did a mile or so with H, Shannon and a surprise appearance from Code Brown (though he wasn’t racing).
Nice crowd on hand for this one at the start. A ton of CRCers. Thankfully the rain held off. I had no real plan on this one but to give it as much effort as I had left. With the gun, I try to go hard but my legs are pretty wrecked. I’m still feeling all the pain from yesterday’s mini cross country meet, and somehow I forgot to tack my tail up to my back, so I’m hitting it with my feet at every step. Brendan Holman has decided to latch on to my right wing, and I know he’s looking to give me that elusive first beat down. I push it a bit on the turn on Heyward to find some open running room. I “fly” to a 6:08 first mile, though I actually had no idea of my pace at the time thanks to my wings covering my watch. Mile 2 has the only real hills on the course, just the standard Shandon bumps up near Bonham street. I’ve managed to catch up to Parker Roof, and he is clearly not happy about it. He starts blocking and weaving, desperately fighting off the shame. But shaming our younger generations is what I live for. I get on his right shoulder, then quickly drop back behind him and haul tail up on the left side like Marshawn Lloyd. YES. There’s a long stretch on Wilmot and I can see a woman and a younger tatted dude just ahead. I hear the mile 2 beep (6:22) and start engaging whatever is left for a Blue Shoe kick. I pass the woman and pull up alongside tat guy. As it turns out he isn’t too fond of getting turkeyed either, asking me my usual 5k time. I ramp it up a bit to drop him and turn back on to Heyward. Way up ahead is Jessa. Well at least she isn’t getting turkeyed this time. …OR IS SHE? Halfway down Heyward and I’ve been totally focused on holding off the two behind me. All of a sudden I wake up and realize the Jessa gap has shrunk considerably. Probably still too far ahead but I have to go hard anyway because I can occasionally still hear noises behind me. Finally we hit Woodrow street. Way off in the distance you can see the finish, but it’s probably about a third of a mile or more. But with the finish arch as my carrot on a string, I go all in. And hold the phone, Jessa is starting to fade. With blood in the water, I go full headless turkey, feeling the velcro coming loose on my back and plush belly bouncing up and down like a poorly supported gut bra. I blast ahead and manage to pass Jessa with less than 2 blocks to go. I crash through the finish in 19:10, first masters and a costume PR! To Mrs. Wigington, I am so sorry. I can’t help it – I have a problem. On the other hand, Tracy was able to catch the whole thing on video, for which I am eternally grateful.
In the overall, David Olds took the win over Dr. Mark Kushinka, with Durham’s Brandt Boggs third. Mrs. Wigington took solace in the turkey incident by claiming first among the women, followed closely by Lugoff-elgin xc coach Sierra Oliphant and Ashley Holman. The turkey took first masters with Brendan Holman and Ed Aufuldish right on my tail feather. Durham’s Devanise Vitti took first female masters, with Shannon Godby 2nd. Birgit Spann, visiting from Germany, took 3rd. Her 83 percent age grade was tops in the entire field!
Female age groupers: Evelyn Holman won the 10 and under in a blazing 23:55. Sister Lily took 2nd in the 11-14 in 23:43. Julia Ghering was 2nd in the 25-29, completing her 4th race in 6 days. Kara Stevens edged Lindsey Hendren for tops in the 30-34, just over 21 minutes. Ronda Sanders was 3rd in the 40-44, while Stevie Dee did the same in the 45-49. Heather Hawn was 2nd in the 50-54. Berha Woehl was 2nd in the 55-59. Melody Kreiling , racing in her 45th race of the year, won the 60-64, with Teresa Harrington 2nd. Carol Wallace blazed a 25 minute 5k, 2nd overall age graded time, to take the 65-69, with longtime CRCers Sue Porter and Cheryl Outlaw 2nd and 3rd. Lynn Grimes took 1st in the 70-74 with Brigitte Smith 2nd.
Male age groupers: Parker Roof finished 2nd in the 20-24. Regan Freeman absolutely crushed an 18:10 for first in the 25-29 and a new PR. Luke Freshour, aka tat guy, finished 2nd. It turns out he’s Ed’s nephew. Should have given him an elbow. Ross Wigington got dragged out to run by the missus and still claimed 3rd in the 30-34. Well done. Rob Yerger, in full Santa costume, held off our Ville to Ville teammate Michael Beets for 2nd and 3rd in the 45-49. Silent H won first in the 50-54. Roy Shelley and Rich Weiner finished 1-2 in the 55-59. Dave Hale pushed da run to win the 60-64, with Phil Smith 3rd. Pete O’Boyle dominated the 65-69 by eleven minutes , with Thomas Outlaw third. Alex Ponomarev was third in a competitive 70-74. Ron Hagell was 2nd in the 75+. Ken Lowden was third and ran with a bib in memory of our late Podium Patti Lowden.
Other notable finishers included: Patrick Hall, Thomas Outlaw, Jr., Antjuan Seawright, Joey and Gabby Swearingen, Phil Togneri, Michael and Clara Beaudet (Clara with the much nicer turkey costume), Kurt Hamm, Missy Caughman, Sophia Homeyer, Gretachen Lambert, Deanna Renick, Jessalyn smith, Maria Pray, Brian Hawn, Melinda Waldrop, Kelly Hynes, Paul Laymon, Lisa Smarr, Jennifer Glass, Leeds Barroll, Pete Poore, Kari and Howard McKeone, and Margie Shelburg.