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Turkey Trot gives runners a chance to build up an appetite

Erick Carlson makes his way around the high school track during the 2015 Steamboat Turkey Trot. This yeaer's event will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Austin Colbert

— Organizers of the Steamboat Turkey Trot say the annual holiday run gives local athletes a chance to work up an appetite Thursday morning before spending the afternoon feasting with family and friends.

“It’s a great, family-friendly race,” said Shannon Fonger, who ran in last year’s race and will be at the starting line Thursday. “Last year, I ran it with my husband and two dogs, and it was the perfect thing to do before having a heavy meal.”

In 2015, the long-running event drew 233 runners, assuring organizers that this race has become a holiday tradition and has found its place at the Thanksgiving table.

Last year, runners were greeted by blue sky and warm temperatures; however, the night before, several inches of snow fell, making for a winter wonderland most runners appreciated.

“Even with the snow, it was a really fun time,” Fonger said.

She managed to finish in the top five of her division and took home a pumpkin pie for her efforts. Though she insists the possibility of pie is not why she is returning this year, she acknowledged it was nice not to have to worry about dessert later that afternoon. More importantly, she said, the event acted as a fundraiser for the high school cross country and track teams, something she wanted to support.

Organizer Lisa Renee Tumminello said the race draws many runners, because it’s affordable, and people in the Steamboat Springs community are responsive to supporting good causes.

She added the running community has alway been particularly supportive of the running programs at the high school, but this event offers a chance for everyone to support the programs. She said she was overwhelmed by the response.

There were 50 athletes on this year’s cross country team and another 76 on last year’s track team. The money from the run helps support those teams by paying for uniforms, equipment and coaching. The money also supports athletes through scholarships.

Before being organized by Tumminello, the Turkey Trot was put on by the Steamboat Springs Running Series. The idea was to use the race to raise money to support youth running programs, and based on last year’s showing, the community responded.

The course is an out-and-back journey that begins and ends at the Steamboat Springs High School athletic field. Tumminello said the course and the day make the event perfect for families. She already has 140 runners pre-registered, and she thinks that number will continue to grow. She hopes to see 250 runners in this year’s event.

“It was way beyond our expectations,” Tumminello said about last year’s race. “I’m always blown away by the support we get from this community, and I can’t believe how many people come out and support these teams.”

This year’s race will begin at 9 a.m., with race-day registration beginning at 8 a.m.

Tumminello encouraged runners to register at runsignup.com prior to the race, especially if they want to save a few dollars, but organizers will be on hand Thursday for any last-minute entries.

The cost on race day will be $20 for adults 18 and older and $10 for youth younger than 18.

The race, which starts on the athletic field, will take runners to Amethyst Drive, then to Strawberry Park. At the halfway point, runners will turn around and return to the start-finish line.

“It’s already a family day, and this is a great venue for families to do something together.” Tumminello said. “It’s Thanksgiving, and I think this community is pretty special in how they support causes and programs that bring us all together.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966


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