And big drama.
The 12th annual Up & At ’Em Johnson City Turkey Trot 5K was the largest race in the history of the event with more than 4,200 registered runners and walkers ready to burn some calories before scarfing down on the Thanksgiving meals later in the day.
Johnson City native Jordan Chaney added to the superlatives by holding off a late charge from Morgan Greene to win the race by two seconds. The women’s race was also dramatic: Bristol, Virginia, native Stephanie Place edged Milligan College alum Hannah Segrave to take home the female title.
The cold temperatures didn’t deter the massive crowd from 29 states and three countries that gathered at Legion Street on Thanksgiving morning. The festivities were full of pre-race music, warmup drills, speeches by community dignitaries and even a skydiver carrying the American flag landing in the street just before the race.
“The turnout this year was fantastic,” chairmen of Up & At ’Em Mark Finucane said. “We set a record this year with number of runners. The bottom line of it was it is a community event and we’re very proud of it. We pay the community back with different organizations that benefit the health and wellness of our community.”
Some of the best parts of the Turkey Trot were meeting up with friends and family you might not see often and mingling throughout the finish party after the race. The race was also pet-friendly with hundreds of dogs sprinkled throughout the crowd, giving the event even more of a family atmosphere.
“The best thing about the Turkey Trot is that you can run with your dog,” Janine Myatt said. “I’m a huge fan of running with my dog. It’s also great because you get to see people you might not get to see all year long and then you see them at the Turkey Trot.”
“The course is great. It’s fairly flat with lots of people to run with of all ranges, fast, slow, everywhere in between,” Jerry Robinson said. “I run the Turkey Trot so that I can burn calories and scarf down some turkey. It’s also a tradition that my wife and I do every year.”
The race has grown significantly over the years with only about 700 runners the first year; it has now surpassed the Crazy 8s 8K in Kingsport as the largest race in the Tri-Cities area by numbers.