Moab City Recreation Director Chad Wright has a few simple words of advice for anyone who wants to win the most coveted prize at this Saturday’s 20th Annual Turkey Trot: just have fun.
While the first-place finishers at the Nov. 22 5K run will walk away with free turkeys for their Thanksgiving meals, event organizers are also offering surprise rewards to unique categories of runners, walkers and trotters.
For instance, prizes will go to the first runners who cross the finish line with a dog on a leash and a child in a stroller; there will even be a prize for the first couple who cross the finish line holding hands. But the most sought-after prize of all will go to the person who looks like he or she is having the most fun, according to Wright.
Fun-monitoring judges will be stationed at various points along the route, although Wright said they will be paying especially close attention to runners as they approach the final stretches of the course.
The emphasis on rewarding fun is in line with the family-friendly event’s tradition of encouraging local residents to get outside and stay active during the holiday season.
“While this will certainly be a great run for hard-core runners looking to finish with a personal best, I hope everyone can celebrate how fun fitness can be,” Wright said. “Research tells us that a person is more likely to create a healthy habit of fitness when they work out with someone else, whether it is a team, spouse, friend or dog.”
He pointed to Moab City Community Development Director David Olsen as an example of someone who has benefited from this healthy pastime.
“David is often seen running trails he has helped to improve over the years with his border collie, and is definitely top dog in the canine category for the Turkey Trot,” he said.
More than 150 people are expected to join Olsen at 9:15 a.m. on the dot at the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center, 374 N. Park Ave. From there, the Turkey Trot course runs along 100 West, the Mill Creek Parkway, 500 West and 400 North, before it finally loops back to the aquatics center.
Beyond the main event, children will have the chance to participate in the Kids’ Fun Run/ Trot, which spans one lap around Swanny City Park. The Kids’ Fun Run begins promptly at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Proceeds from both races will benefit youth sports programs that help young people stay in shape.
Kids can be dramatically affected by a lack of exercise in their lives, but Wright said there is no reason why they should be – especially not if they live in a place like Moab.
“Children are typically a great example of the boundless enthusiasm for exercise when given the opportunity,” Wright said.
Dogs on leashes will be welcome at Turkey Trot, too: Wright noted that veterinarians across the country have seen an increase in unhealthy dogs – simply because the pets aren’t getting enough exercise.
“Experts tell us that fitness is just as important for canines as their human counterparts,” he said.
Both races will go on regardless of what the weather is like. People who are competing for the “Most Fun Prize” are encouraged to wear costumes, but they should dress warmly.
Limited numbers of T-shirts will available for an additional $10 to participants who register online; they can also be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the race. Each child who participates in the Kids’ Fun Run will receive a free ribbon.
For more information, call 435-259-2255, or go to www.moabrecreation.org.
What: 20th Annual Moab Turkey Trot
When: Saturday, Nov. 22. 5K Run begins at 9:15 a.m.; Kids’ Fun Run starts at 9 a.m. sharp
Where: Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center, 374 N. Park Ave.
Cost: $10 in advance, or $15 on the day of the event. The Kids’ Fun Run costs $3. To pre-register online, go to www.moabrecreation.org; click on “Sports,” and then click on “Special Events.” You can also register in person at the recreation office inside the Moab City Center, 217 E. Center St. For more information, call 435-259-2255.