It was a chilly morning, but people came from 18 states and Canada to race in the SCHS Foundation Turkey Chase 5K race on Thanksgiving day. Although I couldn’t race due to hamstring issues, this was my third year to visit and it may have been my favorite. Follow along and see the ‘Best Little 5K in Tennessee.’
Racers make the holiday run fun with festive headgear.
Nancy Trundle Hewitt was busy checking in runners at the registration desk. Her team always pulls off a great experience with this event.
The refreshment team was ready to work.
A benefit of the race: all the doughnuts that you can eat from the Donut Friar in Gatlinburg.
Fun photo ops with mascots.
They are always such good sports with pictures. I hope that they weren’t freezing.
Registrants receive a nice swag bag. I loved the T-shirts this year!
These sisters attend the race every year. Nickelle was my ‘pace setter’ last year because I was behind her for the entire race.
The Start/ Finish line was ready to go.
Local runners were up bright and early.
My colleagues, Heidi and Kathy, were ready to enjoy the morning.
Great the t -shirts! Love purple and white!
The sign-in desk gets really busy between 7:40-8:00 a.m.
My fellow HIIT class friend, Anne, and her husband.
I saw Judge Wade signing in and ready to run.
This is a really fun race. I saw more festive headgear than ever before. I asked this gentleman if this hat was aerodynamic.
These runners were from North Carolina.
Race supporters come in several species. Cute pups were cheering on the leader just a few minutes later. This family came from South Carolina.
Close to 200 racers were lined up on the starting line and ready to …GO!
This was the start of the 5K race. All runners will go around the track once then off to the front of the school property, then circle around to the track. Repeat 2 more times.
And they were off! The course starts on the track then moves to the front parking lot of the school.
All the encouragers used humorous signs to spur the runners on.
This one prompted a few chuckles.
One reason that I was glad to not be racing this year is the opportunity to take beautiful photos of fall racer scenes such as this one. The trees and morning sunshine were glorious.
This is my favorite spot on the 5K course.
The front part of the course has beautiful trees that are just peaking the past couple of weeks. The flat course is also very popular.
More race signs to encourage the runners.
Water break station in front of the Smoky Bears stadium.
The final lap begins for my friend.
My friend Heidi crossing the Finish line and we celebrate! She placed in her age group too!
I caught a hilarious race between the 3 mascots: a turkey, a chicken, and a Smoky Bear.
If you look carefully, you may see a celebrity at this race. Drake was a participant!
Actually, that was Nicholas Fox from Charleston, South Carolina. This was his first 5K race ever! A powerlifter and Crossfitter, this runner said that he liked the race and hopes to come back every year. His family stays in a cabin and he found the race online. “The course is not too aggressive and there are some serious people here, but it is a relaxed race.”
These racers came from Maryland and Florida. For one, it was his first race at SCHS. For the other, it was his first 5K ever. The racer on the left won 2nd place in his age group!
Local athletes supported the SCHS Foundation 5K. From left to right: Emma Hamilton, Cindy Hamilton, Dean Hamilton, and Jennifer Whaley. I am going to visit their business, Sevierville Massage Therapy, soon to see if they can help me with my hamstring. Dean said that is one of the top three things that he addresses in his work.
These racers have a good idea: do Thanksgiving on Wednesday and use Thursday to run 5Ks and do more activities. Heather (pictured left) comes from Ohio. Michelle and Chris are from Seymour.
Bryan McCarter and his wife enjoying the program post-race. They are SCHS Foundation supporters and good 5K runners.
If you run this race, you have a really good chance of winning a door prize. They are good too!
Both the student and teacher volunteers did an extraordinary job hosting the event and post-race activities. I stayed for the whole thing! Well done.
The overall winner of the 5K was Liv Paxton, a student from Rock Hill, South Carolina. It was her first time to race the SCHS Turkey Chase. Liv attends William and Mary College and runs on their track team. Her specialty? The 5K. I saw her warming up in the parking lot as I arrived at the stadium and noted that she meant business. Her time will be hard to beat: 17.31. Train hard for next year, people!
Many, many thanks to Nancy Trundle Hewitt, Executive Director of the SCHS Foundation, and her team, who orchestrate this event each year. She gets up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning to run the best little 5K in Tennessee. Nancy and my friend Heidi pose with Heidi’s award.
Look for the race on eventbrite next year.
For race results, click this link.
For more pictures, go to my Facebook page for blog pictures. I’ll load them after 9:00 tonight.