It was a frosty morning that turned out to be perfect for the SCHS Foundation Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K. Although I dreaded the cold, I bundled up (since only walking the race this year) and it was not that bad at all. Here are some pictures from the race today.
Runner’s were filing into the stadium bright and early Thanksgiving morning.
On-site registration table signed up about 50 walk in runners.
This is my favorite races in regard to swag bags and door prizes.
Early registrants got their bibs quickly.
Some colleagues preparing for the race. Guess which two are walkers and which two are runners?
The sun rises on the stadium. Countdown…10 minutes.
You may run into many friends at this race. My friend Anita, pictured center, participated in this race for the first time and placed third in her age group. So inspired by her!
Mascots ready to cheer on the runners.
Soon, the start gun sounded and everyone began to move.
This is my favorite part of the course. The fall foliage is lovely.
A view of the track and crowd gathered at the finish line near the stands.
This cool sign summarizes our thoughts after the 5K today. Finish well.
I love my souvenir race shirt. Long sleeved tees are the best in these colder temps.
The best part is reaching 90% of your daily activity requirements by 9:00 a.m!
In conclusion, the SCHS Foundation Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K is one of the best little races in Tennessee. My friends and I enjoyed participating among 250 racers from over 20 states to benefit the STEM Scholarship at Sevier County High School. Bravo to Nancy Trundle Hewitt and her volunteers for putting on one of the best races in Tennessee on Thanksgiving morning. I think that it is my favorite.
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.
It was my second year to run the Sevier County High School ‘Smoky Bear Turkey Chase’ on Thanksgiving morning. This is a great way to get moving or get a workout in before the main event—a fabulous holiday lunch. It also funds a STEM scholarship for a student at the high school. Here is how it went this year…
The picture above shows Smoky and student volunteers staying warm in the 37 degree morning temps. Brrrrrrrrr….!
A wild turkey helped me to find the designated parking area.
More student volunteers held signs of humorous encouragement.
I registered online through Eventbrite so I breezed through the pre-registration line. Nancy Trundle Hewitt, Executive Director of the SCHS Foundation, greeted me at the table. Student and alumni helped us with bibs and runners swag. Many, many thanks to all that they did to carry out this race.
I was happy to meet this visitor from Alabama. It was her first time to do this 5K. She does half-marathons so the Turkey Chase was good training during the holiday. She found the race through this blog so I was thrilled to hear that news!
Veteran runners, Kristi Sims Atchley and Julie Nave support the SCHS Foundation 5K race. Kristi definitely had the holiday spirit and best headwear.
Terra Blalock Bice and sons prepare to run!
My friends, Kathy Helton and Heidi Ludwig. This was Heidi’s first 5K race. She rocked it!
SCHS alumni, Nathan and Valerie Mills run a good race, then spend the day with family in Sevier County.
People are (mostly) bundled up before the race. Temps were in the upper 30s at start time.
Student volunteers stand on the course and help runners during the race. The signs always make you smile!
This is a wonderful activity for families. This father and son are ready to run.
I like the roll call of participant ‘states’ to see where people were from. The guy from Florida walked by and yelled, “it is too cold!”
A SCHS Choir member sang the National Anthem. Bravo!
Racing runs in the family.
A family from Seymour with relatives from Ohio and Oklahoma.
SCHS alumni racers: Andrew Newton and Kacee Dixson. They graduated in the Class of 2011.
City of Sevierville officials race too!
This lady races in half and full marathons and loves the Disney races. Today was good conditioning and training for her upcoming race through the Magic Kingdom.
It was good to see sponsor signs along the course. Many thanks to them for their sponsorship.
Jaclyn Kile prepares to cross the finish line.
You really, really, really enjoy a doughnut after the race.
Having fun before the winners are announced.
Student volunteers are integral to the success of this event. Good job!
These students helped with water, concessions, standing on the course, and more. Thank you for your help today!
This was the sweetest brown dog. He/she didn’t run today, but did root us on!
There was a delay with scores so I had to leave before the winners were announced. The cold was a factor for the race in other ways too. My fully charged IPod lost power before I even finished my race. I had to run the last lap in quiet instead of listening to my finishing tune. A friend’s phone stopped working too so we suspect the cold played a part in that. Nevertheless, weather makes races interesting so we will see what it holds next year.
This is a great way to exercise while getting out and about in Sevierville. Save me a place in the back of the starting line and see you in 2018!
It is November so it is time to consider running in the SCHS Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K. I ran it last year and can’t wait to do it again. Here are my top 10 reasons why you should consider this 5K race in our own backyard. I’ll use some pictures from last year to illustrate some points.
It is fun! It is laid back and relaxed as you will ever find a 5K. Show up and run by yourself. You will still have a blast.
2. Proceeds support the SCHS STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Scholarship.
3. You will meet nice people. There will be families that are both local and visitors for the holiday weekend.
4. Race conditions are very comfortable. If it is like last year, the race is mostly on a flat surface. You will not be far from shelter or a bathroom. That is important to some of us!
5. You can walk or run the 5K. Do it at your own pace.
6. You may find yourself running alongside local dignitaries and celebrities too. At the starting line, I found myself standing by Judge Gary Wade and Coppley Vickers. You will probably see Coach B and Kristi Atchley at the race.
7. You have a decent chance of winning an award. If you are over 40 then you have a very good chance of winning an award. If you are over 50 then you have an outstanding chance of winning an award! Last year, there were 3 awards in every age division. I actually won in my age group!
8. You will probably laugh several times. Student encouragers will use humor to keep you moving.
9. You may get to meet someone famous. Last year, we met a famous Spartan racer.
Jamie McCart ran the race and won in his age group. Train hard, guys! He had an interesting story last year. Click this link to see his story on my blog last year.
I found the best little Thanksgiving 5K in Tennessee—and it is right here in Sevierville. Although I wasn’t feeling that great Thanksgiving morning, I made my way to SCHS to see the race for myself, and maybe just to run a 1 K.. It held a lot of fun surprises. Here is what happened…
There were a lot of cars in the vocational school area. Racers, volunteers, and well wishers were heading to the stadium.
These racers were ready to go.
Registration, T-shirts, food, merchandise, and rest rooms under the stadium roof.
Check in was quick and easy. Nancy Trundle Hewitt, Executive Director of the SCHS Foundation, wished us well. She is the force behind this group and we appreciated all her leadership, especially on Thanksgiving morning.
Kristi Sims Atchley and her daughters were ready to run. At least one of them has run in a St. Jude’s race in Nashville. Young veteran racers here.
Leia Loveday is a veteran runner and was ready move!
Kariss Waite and her husband support the SCHS Foundation and raced really well. A SCHS alum, Kariss hasn’t raced in about a year, but wanted to support the science classes.
The Smoky Bear mascot and a turkey encouraged the racers minutes before the race.
Always take a camera to this race. So fun!
Finish line ready to go.
Front line racers warming up and ready to go.
When the starting gun rang out, I was actually tying my shoe! I couldn’t believe it. However, all went well and I didn’t lose any seconds. Many thanks to the SCHS Junior who videoed the start so I could be in line with the racers and not lose any time. Thanks!
Official time keeper for the race. He was busy taking pictures, video, stats, etc. The course included one lap on the track, run up the road by the visitor’s gate, up to the back parking lot, run across the back row toward the vocational school, take a right on the main entrance, return to the stadium and down to the track. Repeat 2 more times. It was mostly flat, except for the slight incline up to the visitors gate. However it was great because you were always on campus and near help, bathrooms, shelter, etc.
Dean of LMU Law School, Gary Wade, and Coppley Vickers support the Sevier County High School Foundation to raise money for Dr. Suzanne South’s Science lab. Proceeds also support a STEM scholarship.
Waiting for racers to finish and to hear the awards presentation.
Having fun waiting for the awards results.
This family came from two separate states to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in Sevier County. They like to run 5 Ks and Googled to find this race. They rented a cabin for the holiday, but started Thanksgiving with this 5 K.
This is a Sevier County family out for an early run. The mother works at Pigeon Forge Primary School.
SCHS volunteers got to the stadium at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for the Smoky Bear Turkey Trot. Thank you!
It was fun to read the posters meant to motivate runners.
That must have been a workout pushing up the hill to the visitor’s gate.
Gary Wade finishes strong. The Smoky Bear mascot congratulates with a high five.
The crowd waiting for awards presentations.
I am dividing this blog story into two parts because there was an adventure sports celebrity in attendance for the event. In an hour, I will publish the second part of this article. We will see some awards and I’ll introduce you to the adventure sports celebrity. I got the scoop!