Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Turkey Trot - Run, Volunteer, Make a Difference - #AXODVA #DVA #RefugeHouse
Thank you Gulf Winds Track Club for designating Refuge House as one of the beneficiaries of this famous and favorite #Tallahassee tradition!
We are #AXOThankful for all alumnae who run in and volunteer for the event, such as long-time runner from Gamma Iota (UF), Anna Busby. Anna and David Yon spoke about the event last year on local television: "Walk or Run to Give Thanks with the #TurkeyTrot".
Our treasurer, JSBH (NOT a runner, ha, ha), shared her excitement as well for this year's logo because her friend Cliff Leonard designed it.
Despite the crazy world we live in, I remain an optimist. One of the primary reasons is Thanksgiving Day in Tallahassee. Thanksgiving is a day that brings people together, perhaps more than any other day of the year. This year marks the 40th year for the race we now call the Tallahassee Turkey Trot. And while the race has “only” been run on Thanksgiving Day for 24 years (1992), the event’s 40-year history of bringing people together to run (and walk) is a remarkable achievement by the running community that deserves special recognition.
One of the ways the race will do this is by presenting a specially crafted finisher’s medal to each runner crossing the finish line. The medal recognizes the race’s history by noting the years - “1976 – 2015” and noting “Still Running Together.”
I know right now we live in a world that is dysfunctional more often than not. Our economic and political systems seem devoted to a “winner take all” philosophy that dehumanizes and divides us. The pace and uncertainty of change too often create such fear that we lose our ability to plan rationally for the future.
Often, we are left trying to protect a status quo, clinging to slogans and clichés, which simply cannot be preserved. Too often this becomes despair that ends with violence.
Yes, that violence sometimes results in mass killings in our schools and theatres, but most often, that violence is turned inward – the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 41,149 people died by suicide in the United States during 2013. Or it becomes violence directed at those we know. According to the CDC, approximately 27.3 percent of women and 11.5 percent of men in the U.S. have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
We all have the ability to impact these numbers in a positive way. In the introduction to this year’s Turkey Trot Magazine, I observed that there was something special going on in Tallahassee during the years 1975-1977.
“Personally, I was wrapped up in intramural sports as a student at Florida State University. But Tallahassee saw the birth of a running club and nine races during that time period that would become the core of the Gulf Winds Track Club racing schedule. Not many events last 40 years. Incredibly, all of those races are still run today, including a 10-mile run at Natural Bridge in late November 1976, which continues today as the Tallahassee Turkey Trot.”
Two of those events, Springtime and Turkey Trot, have benefited greatly for the sponsorship support of Capital Health Plan; the company first provided support to Turkey Trot in 2002.
The introduction continued: “41 years later, GWTC has grown in numbers and in its impact on the community. The running community in Tallahassee and surrounding areas has grown enormously too with nine races listed on one weekend this year and approximately 185 events listed on the racing calendar for 2015. These events, staffed almost exclusively with volunteers, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for hundreds of worthy causes. They have encouraged health and fitness. They bring people together from all parts of our community.”
And what better day to bring it all together, than Thanksgiving Day – Thanksgiving and running just go together.
While Turkey Trot supports many causes each year, the three largest recipients of help over the last ten or so years have been the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Bend, Refuge House and The Shelter. Each of these groups reaches out to an important part of our community that really needs help. You can help them by being part of Turkey Trot in a number of ways. First and foremost, register for the race and join us on Thanksgiving Day. We like to say we have a Smorgasbord of options. On Thanksgiving Day no one is too slow or too fast to join us. The races kick off with a 1 mile fun run, the “appetizer,” at 8 a.m. Then at 8:30 the main course is served with the start of the 5K, 10K and 15K races. It is a block party and community reunion. Many families have three generations of runners competing.
You can also join us on Nov. 22, for the Turkey Trot Festival at Cascades Park from 1:30 to 5 p.m. It is the perfect place to pick up your race packet which will include your race number, a specially designed long sleeve shirt, a Hoo-Ray and some special treats from sponsors. We are encouraging participants to bring donations of nonperishable food, toiletries and other such items. We will have a nice arrangement of guests to entertain you including music groups, Low Country Boyle and Hot Tamale. And of course, the Stick Patrol from the Boys and Girls Club. There will be vendors with running and fitness merchandise for sale (including GWTC own line of training gear), health experts to provide advice and screening, fitness experts to give you advice and more. You will come away ready for Thanksgiving.
Forty years of running together. It has not solved all those problems we mention above, but I like to think it has been a positive force. But no matter, I can’t think of anything else I would rather do on Thanksgiving morning. Let’s keep it going.