Turkey Trot rewards speed with a holiday bird

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    By Ravin Robertson

    While winners of 5K races usually receive medals or money, the top runners of the annual Turkey Trot Race win whole turkeys.

    “It”s a little different race than other traditional 5K races because we advertise it as a Turkey Trot; turkeys are given out to the winners, and it”s at Thanksgiving time,” said Phil Kelly, associate director of Intramurals.

    Open to any BYU student, faculty and staff member or a member of a BYU ward, this running tradition typically happens on the Thursday before Thanksgiving and is sponsored by the BYU Intramural Sports.

    This year”s Turkey Trot will be Thursday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m.

    Registration for the race starts at 3:15 p.m..

    No entry fee is required for full-time BYU students, faculty and staff or current members of Intramural Activities.

    Track and field and cross-country athletes may participate in the race, but are not eligible for prizes because they have an unfair advantage, said Emily Andres, assistant director of Intramural Activities.

    The three top finishers of the faculty and staff, men”s and women”s divisions will each win a turkey based on their quick times while other runners may win the remaining 11 birds in a raffle.

    “Last year we had 73 participants,” Andrews said. “I am hoping that we will have around 70 or 75. If we can match what we had last year, that would be nice.”

    Starting at the Smith Fieldhouse, going past LaVell Edwards Stadium, curving around the southern portion of campus and finishing at the Richards Building, the course of the race has changed little over the past 30 years, Kelly said.

    “We”ve had a few people break 15 minutes, but 15 is a really good time to shoot for,” he said. “I would think that most of our winners will come in at 15 and a half minutes.

    Referring to BYU professor of horticulture Phil Allen who has won the Turkey Trot every year from 1995-2000, Kelly said “He is like a legend. For a faculty member to win that many times, he”s a good runner.”

    Allen, who has participated in the event 10 times, said, “I think everybody ought to run it. It”s just a good way to see where you are every year.”

    Weather is the determining factor as to how many people participate, Kelly said.

    “If we have nice weather, we”ll have 100-200 people show up. If we have cold and rainy weather or snowy weather, we”ve had as little as 30 people show up,” Kelly said.

    The Turkey Trot tradition has been canceled only once because an ice storm made sidewalks slippery.

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