A Thanksgiving Morning Tradition

here's a race I go to every year on Thanksgiving morning. It's called the Framingham Turkey Classic 5K, and it's always cold; it's always sunny; it's always full of kids and dogs and babies and families and old and young and fast and slow; and it's always great! Just look at the pictures in the slideshow, below and you'll see what I mean.

Every year, on Thanksgiving morning, I get up early at my son's house in Natick and join my daughter-in-law Nancy, and we drive to Framingham. It's 7:00 AM and there is NO traffic. We find our way to the Framingham Police station, park the car and follow the crowd of other early risers down to the basement. Suddenly there are tons of people getting ready to run. From about 5 or 6 (I swear it) to 80 years old, with dogs and baby carriages and everyone is HAPPY. This year was a little different — Nancy's brother Dennis was here from the mid-west so he decided to join us in our attemps to offset some of the additional calories we expected to take in later in the day. The motto on the back of the shirt is "Run Early and Eat All Day". You bet!

Slideshow from the 2011 Framingham Turkey Classic 5K

I'm sorry I didn't bring a camera so I missed some great pictures, especially of my family. But the ones in the slideshow above, from the race's web site (), are quite good and really do show the flavor of the race.

here's lot's of food there if you care to eat before the race. I usually just have some OJ. And there are spacious indoor bathrooms as well — with no lines! We picked a chair to leave our stuff on where we would meet after the race, and we each did our pre-race rituals. Most people just chatted with friends. I was lucky to get a few minutes with a massage threrapist who actually remembered me from last year (when I was just getting over an injury).

Just a few minutes before 8:00 AM, I stripped down to my long sleeve Flyers Coolmax shirt, tights, gloves and ear band (check the picture) and made my way out to the start. It was 26° and folks were chomping at the bit. I did my pre-race boot-camp drills and off we all went.

I was pretty far back, but there was plenty of room on the road, so I made my way up through the pack. We passed the American Legion hall on the left and at about the 1 mile point we turned to the right. This was where a guy on a ladder was taking pictues and everyone was goofing off for the camera. The race is a simple loop with only about 3 turns and one hill, up and down, which is not too bad. The last turn puts you back on a main street which takes you right back to the Police Station and the finish.

This year they had those timing chips that are stuck on the back of the race numbers, and the logistics went very smoothly. There were, I think, 1000 entrants (not counting dogs), and I swear, half of them were under 12 (just kidding) .

After finishing, we got back inside quickly because it was cold. My time was 25:25, giving me 5th out of 22 60-69 year olds. Next year I'll be 70 and I had a fantasy of winning that age group, till I saw that this year's winner, at age 75, did a 23:45 – 1:40 faster than me! Well, who knows, maybe he'll slow down and I'll speed up (yeah, right.)

There seemed to be more food than when we started and every one was just having a great time. I found Nancy and Dennis and we eventually left this happy crowd and made our way back to our own place. And would you believe it, they were all still sleeping! Lazy louts!

But the race set the tone for a great Thanksgiving with food and family and festivities. I can't wait till next year (hey, maybe I can get 2nd place in the 70+ age group).

Papa Bear