Record number participate in annual Turkey Trot

Hannah Swayze • Updated Nov 22, 2018 at 5:55 PM

The largest crowd of participants in race history showed up for the 2018 Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K race on Thursday. 

Runners, walkers and their pets were teeming in the streets beside Memorial Park Community Center and Cardinal Park early Thanksgiving morning, ready to start their day of feasting bright and early with some physical exercise. 

Thousands showed up for the annual race, which is now in its 13th year. This year, 4,254 participants and their 200-250 dogs convened to start the day off right. The race is the largest 5K race in the Tri-Cities area and everyone from runners, walkers and even families with strollers trek the course. 

Karen Hubbs, race director, said the event is truly a community event with the support of the city of Johnson City, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe and everyone who works to make sure the event comes off. This year, the event had almost 30 local sponsors that helped make it happen. 

“It’s like our own little Macy’s Parade,” Hubbs said.

Besides just a good run, participants also show up in their best holiday garb. Some wear tutus and some wear turkey hats.

John and Harrison Wright are a father-and-son duo who run the race every year. The two stick out like a sore thumb considering Harrison, a junior at East Tennessee State University, runs wearing a giant cardboard Mayflower ship and John’s prop is a massive Thanksgiving table complete with place settings for six people. John wears a turkey hat where his head sticks out for the centerpiece. 

Originally, John inaugurated the Mayflower prop/costume in 2014, but passed it onto his son when he decided to create the (lighter) table costume last year. They’ve been participating in the race since Harrison was in middle school and both ran in the Boston Marathon in April.

“It’s fun to come run a race and not have to worry about times or anything like that and have a good time,” John said. 

For more information about the race or other Goose Chase Race events, visit http://thegoosechase.org/. This year’s race results can be found at http://thegoosechase.org/turkey-trot/. 

Overall winners on Thursday were:

• First place: Nick Horne.

• Second place: Brayden Hamblen.

• Third place: Jeb Jones.

• Fourth place: Abbey Cooper.

• Fifth place: Tommy Boles.

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