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Turkey Trot

11/26/2014

Coming to Des Moines for Thanksgiving? The Turkey Trot gives you a chance to meet old friends or make new ones while you’re out with your family. Photo by Phil Roeder Photographs

Coming to Des Moines for Thanksgiving? The Turkey Trot gives you a chance to meet old friends or make new ones while you’re out with your family. Photo by Phil Roeder Photographs

Building up an appetite isn’t particularly difficult this time of year. Warm food season brings the wonderful aromas that entice people to have just one more scoop, one more bowl — just one more.

This year, why not try something new with your family and friends and join 400-600 other runners and walkers on Thanksgiving morning to participate in the 50th Annual Turkey Trot.

“The race was started in 1964 by Dr. Merle Diment and was held in Dexter,” said Davis Eidahl, organizer. “It was originally started to give runners a workout with their friends before they sat down for Thanksgiving dinner and football games.”

The problem with temperatures hovering near the freezing point is folks aren’t as quick to take care of themselves after that second helping. For many, going for a jog in the morning is about the worst thing imaginable — and physically difficult. Body temperature is lower, leaving muscles feeling stiff, and one is unlikely to have had any substantial food intake for about 10 hours — so energy is depleted rapidly. So make sure to grab a quick bite prior to the event and have some water because you’re also likely to become a little dehydrated.

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But just because it feels like your body is fighting against you doesn’t mean an early morning jog has no benefit. The very fact that it is difficult means it is helping build mental strength. And you’re going to need that when Uncle “What’s his name” asks you about your five-year plan while you’re helping put the coats away.

“It’s a good family get-together that also gives everyone a sense of accomplishment when they finish the race,” says Eidahl. “And the proceeds from the Turkey Trot have been going to help families in need at this time of the year. In the past, we’ve helped a 15-year-old girl who needed a heart transplant, to a 44-year-old woman who needed a procedure and had no insurance.”

Though family and charity are great incentives, the facts certainly can’t hurt.

The average adult consumes about 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat in one Thanksgiving meal, according to reports from the American Council on Exercise. This means in order to burn off a single Thanksgiving meal (about 3,000 calories) a 160-pound person would have to run at a moderate pace (3–5 mph) for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles. What’s more, that figure jumps to 4,500 (and likely more) calories when the entire day’s feasting is considered.

With this in mind, doesn’t a nice jog before Turkey Day to get your metabolism going sound like a good idea?

“For me, the Turkey Trot is a family affair,” said Eidahl. “I love being able to help people, see runners I usually only see once a year and see families participating together.” CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

50th Annual Turkey Trot
Iowa’s Oldest Running Road Race
Thursday, Nov. 27 at 9:30 a.m.
Iowa State Fairgrounds
Age groups: 13-under, 14-18, 19-29, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+
Races: 5 mile run 2 mile run 2 mile walk (Male and Female)
Race day $25, does not guarantee a shirt, but participants can have last year’s; $10 without a shirt.
Unfortunately there are no restrooms at the fairgrounds open on Thanksgiving Day.

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