There weren’t any turkeys at Cowtown on Saturday, but there were plenty of roadrunners.
The 37th annual Turkey Trot brought out 1,600-plus runners for its 2-mile and 10-mile runs.
The races start in a crowd and end in ones and twos. As contestants finished 2 miles, the area grew crowded with exhausted runners.
They swapped stories about the race, and accepted high fives and woo-hoos from supporters.
Lots of children rode in strollers, and even more ran or walked.
“Running really has changed,” said race director Clark Ensz. “It’s now part of people’s active lifestyle.”
Paul Manning and Angelina Toben literally glowed as they just stood, recovering after the race.
“It was a little scary at first. We were near the front,” Toben said of the pressure of the crowd behind them.
But after the first few minutes, she said, the pack thinned out and they loved being able to run competitively together. This was their first Turkey Trot.
That’s not quite the case for Sally Ottaway and Chris Nickel, who ran in the race years ago.
“We used to be better,” Ottaway said, laughing.
But Nickel said that, for most people, it’s really just a race against your expectations.
“Unless you’re in front there’s no pressure,” she said. “Those who win always win, so let them go.”
She was talking about people like Aaron Yoder, who was first across the line in the 2-mile. An assistant track and cross country coach at Bethany College, he finished in 9:52, coming in ahead of 919 other people.
He really didn’t even seem that winded and was trading comments of “congratulations” and “great race” with other top finishers. He said he ran the 10-mile race last year. Running the shorter distance is just part of his training program. He’s trying to make the Olympic trials.
“Tell people I’m a slacker for only running two miles,” he said.
The 10-mile race was a more serious affair. Winner Bryant Keirns of Haysville was running with his Oklahoma Christian University teammate Roberto Diaz. They crossed the finish line together.
“He was just helping me out,” Keirns said. “He’s a lot faster.”
And top female finisher Raquel Stucky described the 10 miles that she flew through as “a nice train.”