Nov. 22, 2008 Fifth Third Turkey Trot - Improvements - more fun than ever! Leave a CommentMore than 10,000 runners and walkers are expected for the 26th Fifth Third Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning in Detroit. The field has grown 100% the past four years, in part because of its connection to America's Thanksgiving Parade.
by Doug Kurtis
Fifth Third Turkey Trot - Improvements - more fun than ever!
Each year, the event has more of the look and feel of being part of the parade. The "tradition before the tradition" is giving way to the "parade before the parade."
Costumed runners always have been part of the event. Now organizers (full disclosure: I'm the race director!) are advertising to runners to rent costumes from The Parade Company or just join the costume corral at the front of the field at the starting line.
As trotters enter the registration room at Cobo Center on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, they will be greeted by a mini-menagerie of parade props, including inflatable turkeys and papier-mâché "big heads."
Registrants are encouraged to avoid the crush by picking up their bib numbers, timing tags and shirts early. They also can speed up the process by waiting until after the race to get their shirts, or dropping them off at the baggage-claim area without racing back to their cars.
Gone are the sweatshirts and cartoon turkey logos. There will be a new, stylish design on a technical shirt this year.
Gone are the timing chips that had to be removed at the finish line. The new disposable tags will let runners cruise straight to the new food court.
Gone are the tables of token food items. Runners can circle through a food court with a number of choices, such as Clif Shot Bloks, Snyder's pretzels, Detroit Popcorn Company popcorn and the staples of fresh bagels and bananas.
The Fifth Third Turkey Trot kicks off at 7:15 a.m. with a celebrity-judged costume contest. Wally Triplett, the former Lions halfback and the first African American to play in the NFL after being drafted into the league, will be on hand. He also will assist Jack Riley, marketing vice president for Fifth Third Bank, in starting the main events.
The Mash Potato Mile begins at 7:30 a.m. with a new course. Kids will start on Washington Avenue, in front of Cobo Center, and circle the waterfront behind Cobo and Joe Louis Arena.
The Turkey Trot 10K and Stuffing Strut 5K also have new courses. Woodward Avenue, from Congress to Jefferson, will be full of runners.
WDIV-TV Local 4, the Free Press' reporting partner, will televise the start, when runners and walkers will make their way along the parade route and in front of the largest spectator crowd of any race in Michigan.
This year, everyone will make the first turnaround together. Course marshals will be shouting for runners to keep to the right as they head back to Cobo. Larned Street will become the split as the 5K runners head to the finish while the 10K runners continue out to Chene Park before running along the riverfront.
The top 100 men and women will receive scarves to match past year’s wool caps. The rest will be encouraged to hustle back to Woodward to catch the Parade in the designated runner bleacher seats.
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