‘Tis the season for giving thanks for family, friends, food–and running, of course. Michigan runner Lisa Payne Kirker, who I met earlier this fall when I talked with her about the “most important mile of her life” for Another Mother Runner, has combined all of these things (with help from her best running friend) with their creation of a turkey trot in their community. Lisa, who lives in New Era just south of Shelby, shares how she and BRF Amy TenBrink started this Thanksgiving tradition. (Read on for details on signing up, too, if you’re not far from this part of the state and are looking for a great turkey trot to run.)

Now in it's third year, this western Michigan race celebrates family, friends and running. (And pie!)
Now in its third year, this western Michigan race celebrates family, friends and running. (And pie!)

After a long early-fall run, my Best Running Friend Amy TenBrink and I were discussing upcoming fall races. The handful of Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trots that we found were too far away for us to drive, race, and return home in time to meet our family obligations. I suggested we host our own “Turkey Trot.” I’m not sure if it was the vitamin D streaming onto our faces through the fall leaves in my backyard, or the post-run beer we were enjoying on the deck, but we agreed that a run with friends that coming Thanksgiving morning was a fantastic idea!

The following week, Amy and I hashed out the details. We’d invite our runner friends and their families. We’d mail invitations to the handful of runners that lived in our country neighborhood near Marshville Dam. The son of one of our neighbors was a talented college runner – a shoe-in to finish first. My husband suggested we execute the run like a bracket drag race by having runners estimate their finish time. The runner who crosses the finish closest to his/her estimated time wins, giving everyone a fair shot at the prize. The next question? What to win? I thought that winning a Pumpkin Pie would be fun. One less thing the winner would have to prepare before Thanksgiving dinner, and an extra piece of pie is always a great reason to run. The Marshville “Dam Pie” race was officially ready for entrants!

BRFs and race organizers Lisa and Amy.
BRFs and race organizers Lisa and Amy.

The weekend before our first Marshville “Dam Pie” 5K Amy and I realized that what we thought would be a nice 3+ mile run around our country block with 10–15 of our friends was going to be much bigger. We already had 36 entries with more on the way. The night before the race we set up a snack table in my garage, filled a wagon with water bottles and chilled a few bottles of champagne and a jug of orange juice. Let the fun begin!

Thursday, November 21, 2011 will forever be one of the most memorable runs of my life. That morning we hosted a race with more than 60 runners, walkers and even bikers. The local paper was there to capture the race start. My family showed up to support with check-in and parking. The race itself was kind of a blur. I remember running next to people I’ve never met, thanking  them for joining us. I am still shocked that in community of less than 400 people, 15% of them were willing to take an hour out of their busy morning to run around our country block.

Race Day!
Race Day!

Amy and I are anxiously anticipating our third annual Marshville “Dam Pie” 5K on Thursday, November 28th. The “Dam Pie” race has become so much more than a little exercise before we indulge on Thanksgiving dinner. Kicking off the holiday season with 100+ members of our community is such a rewarding gift. This is more than a race – it’s a way to share our love of running and bring people together – runners, non-runners, young and old. Oh…and it’s still a great way to earn that extra piece of pie!

Check out the Marshville “Dam Pie” Facebook page and Lisa’s blog A Happy Little Family for race details and to download an entry form.  

I am looking forward to running our local turkey trot with family and friends. Are you running a turkey trot this Thanksgiving? 




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