OCEANSIDE — The 11th annual Oceanside Turkey Trot has added two age 60-plus events this year, the senior mile walk/run and 400 meter walkers with walkers challenge. Both events will be held the day before the Thanksgiving Day 10K, 5K and kids mile, to allow families to cheer on their seniors.
Kathy Kinane, race founder and director, began the Turkey Trot more than a decade ago to share her love for running and spark a tradition of spending Thanksgiving morning together walking and running.
The race has always included elite runners and novices, and the mutual inspiration they provide each other. Elite runners take off in the first heats of races, and the kids mile is led by high school runners in their track uniforms.
Kinane said she added the senior mile to extend inclusion. The day before the Trot will be all about seniors. Participants will receive a T-shirt and medal, and there will be big band music and dance demonstrations.
“For the past 10 years it has not been uncommon to have octogenarians on the course
with their families,” Kinane said. “I thought it would be fair to have a shorter distance for them to choose from. Their families can be there to cheer them on. Super fit seniors can
relive their glory days and run the mile.”
Anne Garrett, a senior age group record holder, began walking with her daughter at age 72.
“My daughter was a runner, she would run and I would walk,” Garrett said. “We did the Carlsbad 5000 and I found I was very competitive.”
Garrett took to the sport immediately and won her first 5k. She went on to train in formal race walking, did well in the sport, and took on longer distances. Then at age 74 she started running and has run ever since.
Garrett has competed in 10Ks and half marathons through her 70s. She said she enjoys running more than race walking because there are no rules on form in running.
She recently completed a 10K race held at Mission Bay with a time of 10 minutes and 30 seconds per mile.
“Not bad for an 82-year-old woman, I love it,” Garrett said.
At age 82 she continues to run 20 miles a week and compete regularly. She said looking ahead she may limit future racing to 5Ks, and will be walking with her family in this year’s Turkey Trot.
Garrett is well known in the running community and serves as the race’s Move Your Feet Before You Eat Foundation spokeswoman.
She said she is often stopped on her practice runs by fans who want to meet her, and is happy to oblige. She added running uplifts her spirit and she feels it can do the same for others.
“It’s great for me, and awfully good for me mentally,” Garrett said. “I could feel sorry for myself (during trying times) or put on my shoes and walk.”
Garrett also speaks at elementary schools to encourage kids to get out and run with their parents. Two Oceanside schools now have well-attended before school running clubs for kids and parents. Other schools are getting started.
Garrett said the running clubs and school tracks really make a difference for kids who live in neighborhoods where there is no safe space to play outside after school.
The Oceanside Turkey Trot draws 9,500 participants, including several runners are from outside the U.S. and almost half from Oceanside. The race awards gift certificates to age group division winners. Runners can donate $5 of their entry fee to one of more than 60 nonprofits.
The Turkey Trot takes place Nov. 24. It starts at Oceanside Civic Center, 330 North Coast Highway. The first heat takes off at 6:45 a.m.
The senior mile walk/run and 400 meter walkers with walkers challenge will be held November 23, and start at the foot of Oceanside Pier on The Strand. The senior/open fun run starts at 10:15 a.m., the age 90-plus walk/run division begins at 10:45, and first wheelchair and walkers with walkers challenge take off at 1:15 p.m.