I have now run the Santa Barbara Thanksgiving 4-Miler for five years in row, doing my best to squeeze in under 24 minutes (and 1000 burned calories) and win a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider for the kids to drink at the family feast. This race reflects the growth of Turkey Trots, climbing from 300 runners in 2007 to over 700 this year, while retaining it's small town charm. I would like to believe I run it for health reasons, but honestly, I know the motivation is to feel less guilty about the second and third helpings of home cooking that I am so fortunate to indulge in each year.
Once I had done the race a few years in a row, however, my motivation changed. I see the same faces at this race each sunny Thanksgiving morning, and enjoy catching up with them and watching their kids grow. I find myself inspired by the consistency of 76-year-old ultrarunner Bill Dodson, who somehow manages to do this race with his family and still make it to the Quad Dipsea a few days later (and then the CIM marathon the next week, naturally). Or the evolution of the Allison family, whose daughters Kate and Sammie have grown up from spectators (who scarf the post-race donuts) to runners (who scarf the post-race donuts), and soon enough will leave me and their parents in the dust as their youthful jaunts become graceful strides. Brian Wyatt was the proud father of 5-year-old Cassidy taking on his first race, and 12-year-old Chaia who easily made an age group podium finish and still had enough juice to run back a few miles and join the family. This year also saw the subtle transformation of my friend Kik Armstrong, run/walking this year with that confident glow of humility only seen on those who just completed their first 50-miler.
Consistency, change, transformation...all captured in the time-lapse memory of an annual community event. It's a beautiful thing, really. No wonder they are becoming so popular!
|(700 runners take over the streets of Goleta, CA)|
|(Sammie Allison, a spectator no more, with Dad trying to keep up)|
|(Moms Kik Armstrong and Jamie Allison enjoy watching the kids run ahead)|
|(Power assisted running)|
|(Sure, Honey, I'll watch the kids and dog while you cook...and still get in a workout!)|
|(Bill Dodson and I stand with the other age group winners)|
|(Sammie is all about the powdered donuts...is that really the same kid that hung onto Mom in 2007?)|
|(Ultrarunner Brian Wyatt poses with the newest runner in the family, Cassidy, who crushed his first 4-miler)|