This year marked the 29th annual Durango Turkey Trot with a record-breaking turnout of runners, trotters and walkers earning their right to feast the day away.
Matthew Krichman, co-race director with Elizabeth Feazell, summed up the energy and enthusiasm: “The biggest thing about this race is that it is a fun community event. It’s not the kind of race that people run because of the competition; there is no prize money. You don’t see a ton of people huffing and puffing at the finish line and looking at their watches.
“You do see a lot of people at the finish hugging their family members or friends who they were running with, dressed in costumes and gobbling,” he said.
Many locals make this an annual family event.
“It’s a tradition, and I see all my friends here every year,” said Annette Mullikin. “We’ve been doing it every year for the past 25 years.”
“It’s so easygoing and laid back,” said Trent Peterson. “It’s a huge crowd, and everybody is here just to take it easy and have a good time.”
Paul Staby runs the event every year that he is in town for Thanksgiving.
“It’s a beautiful run, and it’s a course you don’t get to run any other time,” Staby said.
Sandy Gilpin ran it for the first time this year and expressed the collective enthusiasm for the event.
“I love coming up here and seeing everybody I know from all different walks of life in Durango, and the scenery is beautiful,” she said.
Community is the resonating theme around this race, and participants can feel satisfied that the funds from this event benefit the Durango community in a big way. Fifty percent of the race proceeds go directly to the Marc Witkes Memorial Fort Lewis College Cross Country Scholarship, which is presented annually to an FLC runner. The late Marc Witkes, who died in 2006, was passionate about this scholarship, and Durango Motorless Transit running club continues to generously support it through many local races.
When Krichman and Feazell took over the Turkey Trot in 2009, they asked the DMT board if some of the funds could be used for other local charities, mainly Manna Soup Kitchen and the La Plata County Humane Society – “the rationale being that it’s around the holidays,” Krichman said, “and we felt it was an important time of year to be giving something to folks in the community less fortunate than us, people who are hungry and animals who can’t take care of themselves.”
The Durango business community supports this event in a big way with numerous prize donations and giveaways, and for the last two years, Ska Brewing has set up a shoe donation box to collect used running shoes that are donated to One World Running, a nonprofit that refurbishes and donates the shoes to Third World countries.
Community-oriented, fun and noncompetitive sum up the sentiment surrounding this event.
“People know that this is a fun race and a big community event,” Krichman said. “I think that’s what gets people out there.”
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.