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DETAILS: Thanksgiving run/walk events around the state

by Celia Storey | November 23, 2015 at 5:45 a.m.
A festive turkey and a Pilgrim participated in the 2014 Go!bbler Turkey Trot in Little Rock.

Across the state Thursday, well-intentioned cooks will dedicate their holiday to preparing a feast. The least we can do is work up an appetite.

One way would be to move vigorously about our neighborhood, and in honor of the holiday, we could strap on a felt turkey wattle or a Pilgrim-style high hat. But better to do something like that -- so public, so odd -- in company with a herd of similarly costume-clad, calorie-burning people.

As they always do, running clubs around the state plan to provide that herd.


At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the United Way of Central Arkansas presents its Turkey Trot 5K, a 3.1-mile jaunt through the Centennial Valley Country Club neighborhood in Conway.

This noncompetitive run or walk includes family-friendly activities before, during and after the exercise, including a costume contest, music played by a DJ, and a street fair with crafts, bouncy houses and a climbing wall. Santa Claus and an elf will be there to pose for photos with children and adults.

Executive director Maret Cahill says all participants in the 5K will get a medal -- bearing a spinning turkey -- and the race committee has also sprung for souvenir T-shirts with long sleeves, because they worried it could be cold on race day.

Proceeds of these proceedings will benefit the Healthier Lifestyles initiative of the Boys and Girls Club, home-delivered meals for the Faulkner County Council on Aging, the Food Bank at Community Action Program for Central Arkansas and other charities.

Registration costs $25 and is available through the events calendar under "Get Involved" at Race-day registration, which costs $30, will be accepted beginning at 7:30 a.m. near the starting line -- at 1555 Centennial Club Drive. More information is at (501) 327-5087.


Santa will also be on hand at 8 a.m. Thursday for The Go!bbler Turkey Trot, conducted in the Heights of Little Rock by Go!Running and The Little Rock Athletic Clubs.

An untimed fun run with costumes encouraged, the event is open to anyone willing to donate a can of food or cash for Arkansas Foodbank. Last year's trot collected more than 2,300 pounds of food. Registered runners will be eligible for prizes, such as pies; and costumes that catch organizers' eyes will be rewarded with gift cards.

Because the event has grown since its inception in 2011, this year organizers will accept donations (they suggest $10 or more) to help defray expenses but donations are optional.

Distances are also optional: a 3-mile road run or a combination of road and trails for 4 or 6.5 miles. And runners could, if they chose, purchase a souvenir T-shirt for $25.

Course maps and registration are online at, but people also can sign up Thursday morning before the run. More information is at (501) 663-6800.


In 2012, Staci Prewitt and her sister-in-law Tracey Ohler were running regularly and didn't want to fall behind at Thanksgiving. "We thought, OK, so Thanksgiving morning we just are going to get up and run the 5K and then be ready for the day. But we had some friends that wanted to join in. And then my family's just crazy, so we got this idea that we would decorate our own shirts. So we had these hilarious, gaudy, googly-eyed, feathered T-shirt things that we made," Prewitt says.

Thirty people gathered in Alpena City Park for that first Gallop for Gravy 5K (Alpena's about 13.5 miles from Harrison).

In 2013, the women partnered with the Children's Charity Ministry in Harrison, and the run grew. This year, it's a chip-timed event with long-sleeve T-shirts (but you are welcome to make your own). "Last year, we had 159 runners. This year, we're up to 113 registered, and we usually have several that register that morning," Prewitt said last week.

The registration fees are "age-based," $20 for adults, $10 for age 12 or younger; and participants also have the option to register to "sleep in for gravy" for the same prices. Packet pickup will be 5 to 7 p.m. today at Nature's Wonders in Harrison, one of the sponsors Prewitt says "we couldn't do it without."

Race-day registration will open at 7 a.m.

More information is online at, via email at [email protected] or by calling (870) 688-8251 or (870) 715-5022.


In Magnolia, the Columbia County Community Foundation's first Thanksgiving Day Run for Hunger 5K begins at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Although organizers had planned to use the Magnolia Blossom Festival 5K's certified route, instead they are using streets on and near Southern Arkansas University.

The fastest overall male and female runners will win $100 and the fastest walker $50.

Registration costs $20 ($15 for those younger than 18) and is available online at Race-day registration ($25, $15 for youngsters) will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 1300 E. University St.

Runners are asked to donate canned food to support the foundation's work with local food charities. Race director Will Wood can be reached at [email protected] or (870) 234-4343.

ActiveStyle on 11/23/2015

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