Crowds flock down the course Thursday during the fifth annual Turkey Trot in Steamboat Springs. The event drew about 250 runners out on a brisk but beautiful morning in Steamboat.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Crowds flock down the course Thursday during the fifth annual Turkey Trot in Steamboat Springs. The event drew about 250 runners out on a brisk but beautiful morning in Steamboat.

Hundreds again trot before their turkey

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— There were a multitude of reasons for Thursday morning’s runners to turn out for the fifth annual Turkey Trot in Steamboat Springs.

2013-14 Winter Running Series schedule

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Jim Graeber leads a huge pack of runners Thursday during the Turkey Trot in Steamboat Springs.

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Jessica Sword, left, and Chris Sword close in on the finish line during Thursday's Turkey Trot in Steamboat Springs.

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Cindy Ptach went all in for the annual Turkey Trot, dressing as a turkey and topping her dogs with pieces of pumpkin pie.

Some were staples of the Steamboat running community, runners who show up to nearly every race and made Thursday’s 9 a.m. start simply because it was there.

Some simply wanted to stretch their legs on a crisp but sparkling Thanksgiving Day morning, and others seemed drawn in large part by the potential to show off their Thanksgiving-related costumes.

All the participants, whether they were fast or slow, pushing strollers or pulled by dogs, suited up in racing clothes or a full-body turkey costume, seemed to share one reason.

“We get to eat whatever we want now, right?” one racer asked loudly, turning to friends as she crossed the finish line at Steamboat Springs High School.

That seems like a personal question, but there was no doubt that whatever their motivation, another large crowd of runners soaked up the opportunity to get out with friends and family and burn some pre-calories Thursday morning. The fifth iteration of the Turkey Trot in Steamboat matched last year’s numbers, drawing about 250 racers for a 4.6-mile run from the high school into Strawberry Park on Amethyst Drive and Routt County Road 36, then back.

“It’s an amazing event. It’s our favorite thing to get up early on Thanksgiving morning and get out and get our exercise in,” Matt Hall said.

He managed the race with a large turkey hat on his head and with his 5-1/2 year old son Will by his side. They slowed only on the big hill before Steamboat Springs Middle School, and, Will announced with pride, “We ran the whole way back.”

Robin Hall wasn’t far behind, pushing 2-year old son Alex and wearing the “after” version of Matt’s turkey hat: a hat that looked like a cooked turkey.

Matt and Will doubled back and ran the final stretch of the race again with Robin and Alex, finishing, as so many did, as a family.

For the Halls and others, the Turkey Trot has become an annual tradition, not as entrenched as that turkey dinner, but still plenty important.

Kielty Freese and Mallory Thomas, 10, for instance, ran together for the second consecutive year.

“We did it last year and we decided to make it a tradition,” Mallory said.

Luke Crespin won the actual race, finishing in 28 minutes, 15 seconds. Eddie Rogers was second, in 28:45 and Harry Niedl third in 29:25.

Maggie Congdon was the first woman finisher, in 37:36. Geraldine Link was second at 37:43 and Johannah Hall third in 38:53.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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