In the coming week, before the feasting and football of Turkey Day, there will be ample opportunities to burn some calories, starting with Saturday’s second annual Ultra Chili 50K.
Charleston County Parks and Recreation is holding the 31-mile “ultramarathon,” which is any distance over 26.2 miles, on a 5K loop course beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at Laurel Hill County Park.
Those who aren’t up for tackling 31 miles solo can participate in teams of two to four people. The chili part of Ultra Chili comes after the run with hot, hearty stuff served up by Ladles.
Fees range from $60 to $90 for individuals and $80 to $220 for teams.
The precursor to the Turkey Runs of Thanksgiving also comes Saturday with the Moncks Corner Kiwanis Club’s 32nd annual Run for Thanks 5K, which includes a “health walk,” at 9 a.m. Saturday in the village of Pinopolis.
For a small race (60 finishers last year), Run for Thanks offers relatively big prizes for the top male and female finishers, including $100 for first place, $75 for second, $50 for third and masters.
Late registration is $25 at Trinity Episcopal Church. (Be sure to hang out after for home-made soup at Pinopolis United Methodist Church).
Turkeys big & small
Meanwhile, the push for the second biggest race in South Carolina, and its “alternative,” starts this weekend as both events take place next Thursday.
The Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Run & Gobble Wobble 5K will mark its 39th year on Thanksgiving Day.
Turkey Day is on a remarkable run in the last six years. It has set new participation records every year since 2010, when it hit 5,308. Last year, the total was 7,542. The only race bigger in the Palmetto State is the Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk.
That number was very close to last year’s registration cap of 8,000, but the city is providing some room for growth by agreeing to raise it to 8,500. The increase was described as “a test.”
With size comes complications and competitors.
This year, the race that has prided itself in being “family friendly” is banning strollers.
“Due to the increasing number of stroller related injuries in the past, and for the safety of our participants, the team decided to make the decision to ban strollers from the race course,” says Turkey Day Run spokesperson Danielle Snider, while offering an alternative to parents.
“For parents with little ones, we are encouraging back pack carriers and wraps,” says Snider.
She also noted that children ages 10 and under can participate in the Kids Fun Run at 10 a.m. in Marion Square, where there will be other activities for kids including a Putt Putt Game, a Jump Castle, and photo ops with Tom the Turkey.
Online registration closes on Sunday. Late registration, which is $35-$45, will be held 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday in Marion Square and 7-8:30 am next Thursday at Marion Square.
Fried Turkey Glide
At about the time the Turkey Day Run started running up its numbers, an alternative sprung up in the woods of the Francis Marion National Forest.
The seventh annual Fried Turkey Glide 5K will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day at Garris Landing in Awendaw. The event is free, but people are asked to give donations for a charity.
And while the self-described “wacky Thanksgiving day tradition” will offer a chance for all to run – including people with strollers – this year’s event has a bit of a somber quality.
Race co-founder LeeAnn Reigart, a long-time local runner and MUSC nurse, was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Reigart and her husband Jay founded the race after becoming tired of driving to Charleston and battling the crowds, so they started Fried Turkey Glide (named for the Southern tradition of frying a turkey) in 2009 with a mere six people. They celebrated with shots of wild turkey and muffins.
Over the years, partly thanks to a nod from “Outside” magazine as a Top 10 Thanksgiving race, the race has grown to 250 people last year.
In the tradition of past years, organizers will collect donations, with this year’s funds going to the Pancreatic Cancer Association.