Dallas City Hall during the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot
Every Thanksgiving for about a decade now Nick and Lee have run in the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot. I’d love to run the thing some day – but somebody has to drive the car and keep track of everybody’s stuff.
It’s a massive event – this year about 45,000 runners. There are two courses – the 5K fun run around downtown, and the eight mile timed course which goes from city hall into Deep Ellum then across the bridges into Oak Cliff and back. The kids run the eight mile course.
This makes for a very early morning on Thanksgiving – driving downtown, finding parking, walking to the start. It’s an amazing crowd – with that many runners it takes twenty minutes for everybody to get going. The fastest 5K runners are back before the end of the crowd starts the race.
Last year was cold and foggy, but the weather this time was gorgeous. We know the drill, I wait at the hill near the end to try and see the kids finish (I saw Lee, but missed Nick – with that big a crowd going by, it’s easy to miss a runner). You have to have a pre-planned meeting place (again, with that size of a crowd, cell phone service is very spotty) – most folks agree to meet at the giant inflatable turkey next to the Henry Moore sculpture… but that’s too popular – the crowd there was huge and everyone looked lost.
Everyone has their Thanksgiving traditions, most of them involve massive amounts of food and televised football. Ours involves eight miles of running. Lee was running the Turkey Trot in Downtown Dallas this year.
I would love to do the run, even the short 5K jog – but my job is to get everybody to City Hall on time and to carry all the extra crap.
A six AM alarm on a holiday is an early alarm. I was more than a little stressed about driving down there (we’ve taken the DART train before and that doesn’t work too well – the trains are all packed full) and finding a place to park. It didn’t help when I walked out to start the car and realized the entire city was socked in tight with a pea-soup thick fog.
Not to worry, after thirty-odd years I’ve learned my way around downtown (the key is to use Good-Latimer Expressway and sneak in from the east) and found a ten dollar parking spot on Wood street across from the Presbyterian Church. We had to step over the sleeping homeless folks in the fog, but the walk wasn’t too far.
As we walked past the closer-in lots I noticed a lot of people putting on turkey costumes. I had not read the notice – the race organizers had a representative from the Guinness Book of Records for the most people dressed as turkeys in one place. They did set the record – 616. There sure seemed to be a lot more turkeys than that wandering around.
Everybody said it seemed a little less crowded this year. I think the thick fog had something to do with that. They announced thirty eight thousand runners (including 616 dressed as turkeys) with another 15 thousand spectators (the folks that had to drive and carry all the crap).
City Hall Plaza is packed with runners until the race starts. Then, suddenly, it is almost empty – a very strange conversion. That doesn’t last long – there is an eight mile race (which Lee runs) and a 5K run/walk. The first 5K runners show up in less than twenty minutes, and it takes longer than that to get everybody going at the start. In other words, the fastest runners are finishing before the slower ones start.
Lee has not had enough time to train properly, but he finished about five minutes before he had estimated – a pretty good time if you ask me. He said the whole course was foggy and there is one leg that goes across the Trinity River on a causeway. He said that the ends of the bridge were lost in the fog but he was crossing as the fastest runners were coming back. All there was were runners going in both directions coming in from and disappearing into the dense fog.
We walked back to the car and slipped out, missing the bad traffic.
What about all the food? We stopped at the Boston Market on Forest Lane on the way home where Candy had pre-ordered everything. A ten minute wait in line and we had Turkey and all the fixins. Ready for all the football games.
A Henry Moore sculpture and an Inflatable Turkey.