Thanksgiving in the running world come with the question, “Which turkey trot are you doing this year?” Luckily for me, Highland Park hosts the North Shore Turkey Trot so when I go home to visit my parents for the holiday, I just have to convince them to wake up early to drive me down the street to the start line.
Who am I kidding, mom couldn’t wait to whip out the cowbell again. They’re pretty much the best fans ever.
It’s held at a local running store in the neighboring town of Deerfield. I’ve always found it very easy and efficient, takes less than 5 minutes unless, like me, you are naturally drawn to running clothes and proceed to walk around the store and feel how comfortable all the merchandise is. This year’s giveaway was a fleece hat in lieu of a tech t-shirt. I’ve enjoyed the variety of clothing items this race has-one year it was these amazingly warm plush pajama pants, another year it was a nice zip up hoodie, and this year it was a cozy hat. I appreciate not always coming away with a shirt.
When was the last time you remember it being 50 degrees on Thanksgiving?!?! It was warm, overcast with the threat of rain, and around a 10mph south/southeast wind. I couldn’t believe that I was able to wear a singlet and shorts!
The North Shore Turkey Trot 5k started at 7:30 and the 10k started at 8:10. I was able to watch the 5k finish before heading into my corral. There isn’t much fan fare at the start- no music, just an emcee who was spouting out random Thanksgiving and/or running facts at the start. Did you know that a turkey can run 25mph? I learned something new! We lined up and at 8:10 we got a 3-2-1-GO with a foghorn.
Headwind for the first mile as we ran down St. Johns Ave to Cedar. A policeman was set up at the course turn to wave us on and block traffic. Headed east on Cedar with a few tiny tiny tiny hills (more like bumps) towards Sheridan road where we had our first water stop at just past mile 2. The volunteers looked like high school aged kids, wet and looking a bit miserable, but all rocking their fluffy lumberjack hats.
We continued up Sheridan Rd and encountered a few more hills before turning off on Forest and going back towards downtownish. There was a small cluster of fans around the 5K mark; my mom was there, ringing her cowbell like a maniac. I absolutely loved it.
Closer to mile four, I spotted my dad among a cluster of other spectators, poised to take a picture. Hearing him cheer, “Way to go Becky-O!!” and seeing him on a rainy morning on a sparsely spectated course reminded me of my high school cross-country days.
A few more turns brought us back to Sheridan Road and eventually up to Walker Ave where we ran by Fort Sheridan. Again only a smattering of fans on the corner. One guy shouted out to me that I was the 5th female to run by which surprised me a lot. I knew I was booking it, but I didn’t expect to be up in the top 5! There were no course marshals here, and some cars started to drive by us. One even had the balls to honk and say get over to the side of the road! Um, no dude, someone told me that I was doing well in the race, I ain’t moving over or slowing down so you can drive by!
Right after mile 5 we turned south again to make our way down St. Johns past the high school and to the finish line. The wind smacked me in the face again, and my pace slowed. I passed by my dad right before the 6 mile marker before sprinting up a slight hill and across the finish. My official time of 40:37 was a PR by 49 seconds over this summer’s previous PR at the Big10K! Finished 5th place female overall, first place in the age group!
Once the runners crossed the finish line, we got water and a pie, but no medal! The pies were not vegan, so it was not a good prize for myself nor the other vegan athletes in the race. Having a finishers medal instead of a pie, or at least having an ending prize that everyone can enjoy, is the only thing that I would change about this race. Otherwise, I’d recommend the North Shore Turkey Trot to anyone looking for a small but competitive race on Thanksgiving.
Update: Got a medal in the mail for finishing 1st in my age group!
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving, and had successful Turkey Trots wherever you decided to run!