By Laura Acuff, Opinion Editor
Turkey, dressing and holiday weight gain-all commonly associated with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Some individuals, however, will combat this year’s holiday pounds with Thanksgiving-themed runs called Turkey Trots, taking place across the nation in support of various charities and organizations.
Locally, the Abilene Runners Club plans to coordinate its own 5K Turkey Trot. Runners and walkers may register from 6:30-8 a.m. Thursday, and the race begins at 8:30 a.m. Children may participate in a 1-mile fun run, beginning at 9:15 a.m. Registration is $20 if received prior to Saturday, after which the fee jumps to $30. Forms are available online at www.abilenerunners.com.
Advertised as a way to allow participants to “run in the morning and eat guilt free the rest of the day,” the run supports the Abilene Runners Club.
While the club assists and participates in multiple benefit runs for various organizations every year, the Turkey Trot is the club’s only self-promotional event, said Mick Stamm, Abilene Runners Club volunteer acting media coordinator.
“We are a charitable organization ourselves,” Stamm said. “The whole nature of our business is to bring running to family and to people as a viable activity for health. That’s just what we promote.”
The Runners Club benefits the Abilene community by aiding and instructing other organizations in conducting fun runs and through the individual advantages membership offers.
“As a runner myself, the Runners Club has benefited me through camaraderie and connection through a sense of community, through people sharing knowledge,” Stamm said. “Being able to do something that’s healthy and positive with people who feel the same way, people who are of a like mind and a like nature is a terrific boost.” Another Turkey Trot takes place annually in Dallas to benefit the Dallas YMCA.
Brooke Zielke, senior family studies major from Medford, Ore., said she heard about the Capital One Bank Dallas Turkey Trot from her friend. Unable to return home to Oregon for Thanksgiving, Zielke decided to participate.
“I just think it’s a fun and beneficial way to spend time with friends or family the morning before you start cooking or doing whatever traditions your family has,” Zielke said.
“It’s a good way to help other people before you start helping yourself.”
While the idea of a preemptive strike on holiday calories had occurred to Zielke, she said her reasons for participation stem from a more spiritual root.
“I think anyone can benefit from it, but I think as college kids, especially at ACU, sometimes it’s easy to forget how blessed most of us are,” Zielke said. “[The run reminds] you more about what the holiday is really about and that there are other people that don’t really get to celebrate it like you do, so it’s kind of a way to remember how blessed you are.”