If you go
What: 36th annual Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble.
When: 9 a.m. Thursday.
Where: Starts and ends at Marion Square.
Cost: Today, $40 with race T-shirt and $35 without; Thursday, $45 and $40, respectively.
registration: In-person registration and packet pick-up will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 7-8:30 a.m. Thursday at Marion Square.
At the end of online registration Sunday evening, the 36th Turkey Day Run and Gobble 5K appeared poised for another record-breaking year — 6,080 people already had signed up for the 5K.
With typically 1,500 signing up in person on the day before and day of the race, the event on Thursday seems destined to crack the 7,000 mark for registrations and 6,000 for actual finishers for the first time.
Turkey Day Run spokesperson Danielle Snider said both were goals of the organizers of the event, the Knights of Columbus Rev. P.N. Lynch Council No. 704.
Her only concern about breaking the finisher record of 5,833, set last year, is the forecast for chilly temperatures. The National Weather Service forecast for 9 a.m. Thursday calls for 38 degrees, with a 9 mph north wind and sunny skies.
In-person packet pick-up and registration resumes Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Marion Square. Cost is $40 for those who want a T-shirt and $35 for those who don’t. Registration Thursday will be from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Marion Square. Fees go up $5 on race day.
For the past 12 years, Turkey Day’s growth has been steady, about 15 percent a year, due to growing popularity of running, opportunities for regular communication to target audiences via social media and better organizing by the Knights of Columbus, according to organizers.
Kids races and activities, prize money for top runners, bands and an expanded beer garden have provided lures for all demographics, from families to younger singles and competitive runners.
Snider said people also are drawn to the fact that they get can get exercise on the morning of Thanksgiving and help out charities. The run will raise money for 24 nonprofits, all listed on the race website. Last year’s race provided $80,000.
One difference in this year’s race is the course. Due to construction at the southern tip of East Battery, race officials scrambled to re-figure the course and certify it. The race starting line will be just south of Calhoun Street on Meeting Street, and not go around White Point Gardens, as in the past.
Turkey Day also is getting a little more exposure by being part of larger effort, dubbed the “Guinness World Record Gobbler Challenge,” by BSX Athletics sports technology company. On Thursday, the company is seeking the record for “Most Participants in a Multi-venue Race.” Charleston’s will be among 20 Thanksgiving Day races in 12 states.
The combined number of participants will have to exceed 116,086 to break the record, currently held by Malaysia.
To handle bigger crowds on the peninsula’s relatively narrow streets, organizers have implemented a color-coded, corralling system, similar to the Cooper River Bridge Run, that will include four waves that will leave at three-minute intervals starting at 9 a.m.
The first wave of 1,500 runners, with yellow bibs, are the fastest and will start at 9. The last wave, with walkers and all using strollers, will have green bibs and start at 9:09. Organizers encourage participants to abide by assigned corrals and starting times.
The main street closures will be streets around Marion Square. Calhoun Street and Meeting Street, adjacent to the park, will close starting at 7 a.m. Thursday to allow for starting line set-up. The area will re-opened shortly after 11 a.m. The streets along the course will be closed shortly before 9 a.m. and re-open as the last participants pass.
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.