Steamboat Springs Winter Running Series Turkey Trot participants, from left, Kelsey McMillan, Gavin McMillan and Morgan Rogers come across the finish line Thursday during the annual Thanksgiving day race.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs Winter Running Series Turkey Trot participants, from left, Kelsey McMillan, Gavin McMillan and Morgan Rogers come across the finish line Thursday during the annual Thanksgiving day race.

Turkey Trot a family affair in Steamboat

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— Thursday’s Steamboat Springs Winter Running Series race was less about winning and more about spending some healthy time with friends and family.

There were 13 members of the McLaughlin family who participated in the third annual Thanksgiving day race that took runners on a 4.6-mile out-and-back course from Steamboat Springs High School to Buffalo Pass Road.

“It’s a big family reunion every year,” said Ed McLaughlin, of Lakewood, who thought his 81-year-old father, Ron, was the oldest participant in Thursday’s race.

About 150 people rode unicycles, ran, walked, held dog leashes and pushed baby strollers for the brisk run, which was balmy compared to last year. Temperatures were below zero for Thanksgiving 2010 and had runners coming over the finish line covered in frost.

Race director Lisa Barbour credited the high participant turnout to the warmer weather and sunny skies. About 100 people signed up the day of the race.

“They got up and go, ‘Look, it’s over 30 degrees,’” Barbour said.

All of the proceeds from the race will go to the LIFT-UP of Routt County food bank. Last year, with 41 runners, proceeds were about $500, Barbour said. She said LIFT-UP was grateful for last year’s donation, and this year’s likely will surpass it.

“I bet it will affect many, many families, which I’m happy about,” Barbour said.

Thursday’s event might have been focused on spending time with the family, but as with any race, there were some standout finishers.

Heather Gollnick, a 41-year-old professional triathlete from Florida, was the first woman to finish with a time of 33 minutes, 54 seconds.

Gollnick was in Steamboat for Thanksgiving and said it was fun to participate in a new running event, even one that presented more of a challenge because of the altitude.

“You definitely feel it,” Gollnick said.

Boulder track coach Gabriel Small, winner of June’s Steamboat Marathon, got another win Thursday with a time of 27 minutes, 41 seconds.

Steamboat’s Jack Burger, 18, finished second in 29 minutes, 35 seconds.

Burger ran the Turkey Trot with his mom, Darby, and 12-year-old sister, Tatum.

“It was the first time I’ve run in a couple weeks,” Jack Burger said. “It was hard.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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