Very. Very is the only answer.
The Turkey Trot is a tradition dating back to perhaps the 1700s but more likely it came to be in the roarin’ ‘20s when everyone was having a fucking blast. Then came the Great Depression, the wars, and you’ve got to assume everyone had better things to do than exercise on a holiday. However, with utmost assumption, I have to believe that the Turkey Trot became back in vogue during the famed American Running and Shorts Over Fluorescent Tights Boom of the 1970s. All of this is to urge you take this race extremely seriously.
This advice doesn’t start and stop with the fast athletes vying for the win and a commemorative glazed ham. No — this rule goes for everyone. There’s no good reason not to get off the line HARD, settle into a PACE, and KICK for a personal best. Your new mantra for the next few days is: HARD. PACE. KICK.
If you’re coming to the race as a trained elite runner, you probably just spent the last four months training for a race that you ended up watching from a friend’s laptop with their mom’s account to a website that streams championship races. You put in the work, but there was that freshman who had too much upside and coach wanted to expose them to the big stage. But you’re fit! Unleash the fitness on your math teacher from the fifth grade, your ex-best friend from high school who opted to walk the 5K this year, and do it for yourself. In the end, your running only matters to you so you might as well HARD PACE KICK and DRY HEAVE.
It’s also important to win the race because when you’re surrounded by aunts and uncles over the course of the next eight hours they will inevitably ask if you are “Still doing that running thing?”
When Uncle Brad quips, “What are you running from, kiddo?”
When Aunt Marjorie asks, “Are you still single?”
You respond with, “Yes. I am a runner” and then walk away, your first-place ribbon waving goodbye as you make your way towards the sweet potato pie.
But what if you don’t have a chance to win the race? Why should you take it seriously?
Well, I would have to say for pretty much the exact same reasons as the trained runner. Your family already thinks you’ve gone off the deep end for generally caring about running, so you might as well give a damn about the race so it doesn’t seem like you’re just running for fun. Because that would be insane.
Heed this advice unless you want to end up telling your second-cousin that you woke up at 6 a.m. to run-walk three miles in 8-degree weather. Instead, rope that cousin of yours into a corner, cut a few pieces of pumpkin pie and explain those splits on your Garmin.
You’re going to be a hit this year. Happy Thanksgiving.