Regardless of the below-freezing temperatures and snowfall on Tuesday and today, the annual Johnson City UP & AT ‘EM Turkey Trot 5K Thanksgiving Day morning is scheduled to go on.
This afternoon, participants slipped in and out of Legion Street Parks and Recreation Center to pick up their registration packets and T-shirts.
One participant, Tia Rosenbalm, a Bristol native now living in Greeneville, S.C., said she was excited about being back in the area to run the race with a friend from her high school days.
“I wanted to do a 5K,” Rosenbalm said. “I’m trying to spread them out because I’m doing a half marathon in February.”
When asked about how she thinks the cold weather will impact this year’s Turkey Trot, she said she thinks “it’ll be fine.”
“I’ve been training in pretty cold weather, like 35 degrees outside, so I think we’ll be OK as long as there’s no ice, no slipping,” she said. “I think people want some good motivation and not feel guilty later in the day for eating turkey and stuff.”
According to the National Weather Service website, Thursday’s high is expected to be around 37 degrees. The Turkey Trot is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m., when temperatures are predicated to be somewhere from 19 to 22 degrees, according to weather.com.
“It’s going to be cold and I’m advising everybody to layer up,” City Commissioner Jenny Brock, race co-chair and one of the founders of the Turkey Trot, said while working the packet pickup tables today. “Make sure you’ve got gloves and hats on. If you bring your children in strollers, make sure they’re well covered up. Think about your dogs, too. The asphalt’s going to be pretty cold, so I would suggest thinking about that because they may be colder than we are. Just be smart about coming. Cover your hands. If you’ve got a stocking hat, cover your head.”
Brock said a chance of the event being cancelled is not likely since all of the precipitation was forecast to be out of the area by the start of the race.
“The only thing that would cause us to cancel would be ice on the roads,” she said.
Brock also noted refunds will not be given to runners or walkers who are unable to make the event or unwilling to brave the cold temperatures.
“No event like this will give a refund because we have fixed costs. It just can’t be done when you’ve already bought everything,” Brock said. “We’ve ordered 5,000 shirts, so they have a shirt and a medallion and they can come down and pick it up even if they don’t run.”
Originally shooting for a registration goal of 5,000 people for this year’s event, Brock said because of the weather, she expects to see around 4,600-4,700 people participate Thursday.
The Turkey Trot will start with the wheelchair division starting 3 minutes ahead of the runners and walkers participating, and the proceeds from event will go toward the development of the Tweetsie Trail.
“That matches the missions of the Turkey Trot,” she said. “It’s going to be a wonderful, safe area for families to go walk or run or bike or hike or trot, or whatever they want to do,” Brock said. “I couldn’t think of anything better for what we have left over to go to the Tweetsie Trail. It will really help with the progress of that project.”
For more information, visit www.jcturkeytrot.org or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Johnson-City-Turkey-Trot-5K/253343490083. Check out Friday’s edition of the Johnson City Press for coverage of the event.