Another year, another Turkey Trot down. The 2015 Cleveland Turkey Trot was an amazing race for me, despite not having the “official” results from the race. I was in race mode — ready to take on every competitor and any distance. 2016, though, couldn’t have been more different. Since I’m coming off a fall marathon, I’ve been less inclined to race and more inclined to fun run.
If I’m being truthful, this Turkey Trot almost didn’t happen for me. I hemmed and hawed literally up until two days before the race on whether I was even going to run. Since moving, downtown Cleveland is much more of a schlep than it ever was before and frankly, I’m tired of waking up super early to run especially when it’s cold and potentially rainy. Ultimately I decided to run and I’m glad I did. Let me give you an overall race review and then I’ll recap my experience.
Cleveland Turkey Trot Review
Parking this year was a surprising pain. When I first started running this race, it was easy to park on the street but in inclement weather it was even easier to park in a heated parking garage. Last year I had planned on parking on the street but couldn’t find a spot due to the influx of runners (they added a 5K last year). This year, much to my chagrin, my favorite nearby garage was charging $15! Unbelievable. I ended up a block over for $10 which wasn’t much cheaper but it was one of the only options available within a short walk to Cleveland Public Auditorium.
The swag this year was all right. They changed the design of the shirt and made it white. Which isn’t a deal breaker but I would have liked a fall-color shirt with the traditional logo which I’ve come to know and love. They did add a medal, though, which I think is important to some people so that’s cool.
The pre-race atmosphere was great, as usual. This year seemed especially nice, however, due to all the lights being on inside Cleveland Public Auditorium. The last few years I’ve run the Turkey Trot, only a few of the lights have been on inside which gave it a drab, almost creepy kind of feeling. This year, though, you could see the entirety of Public Auditorium and it was breathtaking. The architecture is amazing, the details are beautiful. I was glad to finally see it all lit up and filled with happy runners.
The crowd support, despite having decent weather this year, was minimal. I don’t care much for crowd support either way but I know some runners do. This race was not heavily supported at all. Even the water stations were kind of lacking.
There was a new course this year, which was sorely needed. I heard the course was changed due to construction constraints but I’m hopeful they won’t change the course back to the old one. The new one takes runners west and is much more scenic. The old route headed east through rundown areas of the city and past decrepit factories.
I can’t say much for the post-race atmosphere. I’m usually cold and wet and by the time I’m done running, I have no interest in standing around after the race mingling with people. I’d rather get in my car, get warm, and head to Starbucks for my traditional Caramel Apple Cider. It only happens once a year so I get excited — can you blame me?
Cleveland Turkey Trot Race Recap
My goal for the 2016 Cleveland Turkey Trot was to run and have fun. As I mentioned, I wasn’t sure if I was going to run in the first place. When I saw the temperature would be in the 40s and it would be quite mild, I figured why not.
I picked up Julie and we headed downtown to meet up with Eugenia and Sara. Julie always races so I knew running with her was out. My plan was to run with Eugenia and Sara. They are both right around my pace and Sara would be pushing her son in the stroller, so she wasn’t planning on racing either.
Cleveland Public Auditorium
When Julie and I arrived, we made a beeline to the restrooms. We’ve come to expect exorbitantly long lines. As luck would have it, we found a hidden gem of a bathroom and were in and out in mere minutes. After the restrooms, we headed downstairs to meet our friends.
And of course once we found them, selfies galore. Because selfies.
We stayed inside Public Auditorium as long as possible. When we went outside it was drizzling, which was unfortunate because I left my hat at home in favor of a headband to cover my ears. Thankfully it didn’t rain too, too hard, but it was still cold and wet for the duration.
We all lined up together, listened to three American-themed songs (still not quite sure what we were hearing aside from the National Anthem), and then we were off. Julie, Sara, and I quickly lost Eugenia (who, as it turns out, was having a wonderful and speedy race!) but we stuck together for a few minutes. No sooner did we round the first corner did Julie decide she needed to kick it into high gear. Sara and I ran together for the remainder of the race.
I won’t break down this race mile by mile because I was so busy chatting with Sara, I really wasn’t paying attention to where we were. At one point, though, I realized we had only run three miles and I was really waiting for the race to be over. We ran under the giant chandelier at Playhouse Square — first time seeing it in person! — and it was quite beautiful. The area was almost unrecognizable if I’m being honest. Good job, Cleveland. You clean up well. But other than that, it was drizzling, cold, and overcast. I was ready to get my Starbucks and go eat some grub.
Sara and I had a nice run together and her son did really well until the very end when he started getting antsy for his daddy. I know how that goes all too well!
After we crossed the finish line, Sara met up with her husband and I found Julie. Julie and I promptly headed back to our car and into the warmth. And then, of course, Starbucks. 🙂
Overall it was a fun morning. I’ll definitely do another Turkey Trot, but between the hefty race registration, the cost to park, plus the pain in the butt it is to get downtown might mean I try another race closer to home next year.
Official finish time: 51:11:92
TALK TO ME!
What’s your favorite 5-mile race?
Do you ever miss the entire course because you’re too busy talking with someone?
Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run, and HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin’ for the Weekly Wrap. Also linking up with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle for Wild Workout Wednesday, and myself, Susie, Debbie, and Lora Marie for the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup.