Thanksgiving is likely my most favorite holiday, for more than just the obvious reason. I do love eating turkey (and cheesy mashed potatoes and doughy rolls and don’t get me started on the green bean casserole which I love especially as leftovers) but Thanksgiving is all that because it’s quality time spent with the most important people in my life — and I’m now at the age when having family over, making a meal for everyone, is just something I really, really enjoy. Throw in watching the Lions play, tossing a football around in our front yard during half time, lounging on the couch after a satisfying meal…it’s really a rather perfect day. It’s also the week of Alex’s birthday — this year his 9th birthday falls the day before Thanksgiving — so it’s just a festive few days overall.

And, of course, there’s the Turkey Trot. The very best way to start Thanksgiving, I say. And for the past few years it’s become a family tradition: we’re up early to not just get the turkey in the oven, but we’re also dressed to run.

Turkey Trots take place all around the country, and I’m looking forward to participating in our local take on this annual tradition: the Up North Media Turkey Trot in downtown Traverse City. This year the five of us again will run the 5K. My brother-in-law Jason is again joining us, as is his girlfriend Nicole. And I’m really excited to have convinced my dad to sign up as well — this will be his first race in many, many years.

Trot Logo CircleThis year, for the first time, MRG is partnering with organizers of this race. I’m excited to be working with this race, which features a 5K and 5-miler, and is committed to giving back to the community. “This year we will make donations that will enable our lifetime give to surpass $150,000 to worthy area causes,” says Brian Hagerty, of Up North Media. “It’s a great race, memorable time and benefits worthwhile causes.”

Brian gives an inside look to this year’s Turkey Trot in Traverse City. (Learn more about the Petoskey event here.)

This is the event’s 7th year — how and why did this race get started, and how has it evolved over the years?

This race got started because there was a massive void in the Traverse City fun run calendar. There are a lot of Turkey Trot races across the nation and we wanted to have one here so Traverse City could enjoy this tradition. This race has doubled routinely until recently, and every year you easily see three generations of a family (sometimes four) participating in the fun. This race has become the tradition it was designed to be and we are really proud of that.

How would you describe the kind of race experience runners can expect to have at the Turkey Trot?

This is a fun run designed for all ages, shapes and sizes (and dogs). You’ll have serious runners, people with their dogs, wagons, or strollers. It is family-oriented and it helps people justify their behavior that they are about to engage in later.  The bottom line: We hope that people walk away from this experience with a smile.

What’s the race course like?

The course is largely flat and welcoming to any skill set. It is filled with variety and has beautiful views of the bay, the city, and some nature. We offer two distances: a 5K and a 5-miler, and they both start and finish on Thirlby Field.

Please tell us about the charities that are benefitting from this year’s race.

Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails, Inc. (TART): A portion of the race uses the TART trails and that is a vital part of our community that we enjoy. It makes our city a home and this is a great way for us to donate money back to their organization.

Traverse City Area Public Schools: The public schools are constantly in need of support due to routine cutbacks that take place — this is a way we can support a required entity. Coordinating this event allows us to write a larger check than we wouldn’t be able to write in our household without it.

Traverse Region Event Directive (TRED): TRED is a race minded, healthy lifestyle group that promotes many races in our community in a wide variety of ways. Funds directed from here help purchase race assets that can be used by others in the community.

Any especially memorable race moments you’d like to share?

2012 was a pretty crazy year. It was really warm, maybe around 65 degrees. Forty-eight hours after the race, I think the weather dropped 40 degrees. 2013 was a chilly year, but that is the beauty of this race. Regardless of the weather, we always have people embrace the weather and many of them are dressed up in costumes. My favorite was the pilgrim who was actively hunting the Turkey. The pilgrim had a bow and arrow and was chasing the turkey the entire race. Brilliant!

Why do you think runners like this race so much?

Tradition: This race is all about family and fun. It’s a tradition that doesn’t leave anyone out. All ages genders and household inhabitants are welcome! It supplies a distraction, too, on a day that needs a bit of variety!

Value: This race is a great value. It is the best goodie bag you’ll get all year long. We have nice long sleeve t-shirts, bottled water, a great bag, coupons, etc. worth way more than what you pay to participate!

Interested in running this Traverse City event? Register here

Are you running a turkey trot in another Michigan city? What do you like most about running this holiday race?


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