The air was crisp and the sky was sunny as 2,500 runners and walkers, dogs, and kids converged upon Civic Center Park for the 32nd Annual Davis Turkey Trot on Saturday, November 23, 2019.
Clear skies were a pleasant sight this year – not just because it meant that it was not going to be a rainy race – but also to those who remembered just twelve months earlier, when the race had to be postponed to December due to heavy smoke from the Camp Fire in Paradise, the only time in its’ 32 year history that the event was not held on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.
The Davis Turkey Trot, which began as a 10K race, has grown to include a 5K, half marathon, and kids fun runs. A couple of years ago a 2 mile distance was introduced, and this year it was opened up to not just humans, but four-legged, tail-wagging furry friends. The 2 mile division benefited the Yolo County SPCA and their efforts to spay and neuter dogs and cats, provide foster homes and facilitate adoptions.
Races began with the start of the 5K (3.1 miles) and Half Marathon (13.1 miles) at 8:00 a.m. Approximately 50 men and women also took part in the ‘unofficial’ 15K, which is a challenge available to those who wish to run both the 5K and 10K divisions. To do so, they must complete the 5K in under 45 minutes in order to make it back to the 10K start, which was at 8:45 a.m.
Crossing the finish line first this year was Ryan Waddington, who was also last year’s half marathon winner. Waddington’s time in the 5K was a speedy 15:58. He went on to run the 10K race, coming in second place in that 6.2 mile competition, with a time of 32:39. Clancy McConnell of Sonora won the men’s division of the 10K, posting a time of 31:27.27, the fastest winning time in the 10K race since 2013. McConnell has a strong performance history at the Davis Turkey Trot, having won the 10K race back in 2016 with a time of 32:54.
The women’s 5K title was earned by Jennifer Schmidt, of Davis, who covered the 3.1 mile route in 18 minutes and 25 seconds. Schmidt, like Waddington, participated in the unofficial 15K division and won the women’s 10K race with a time of 38:46. It was the first time that a participant has won both the 5K and 10K races in the history of the Davis Turkey Trot.
James Melkonian, also of Davis, was this year’s half marathon winner, finishing in 1:11:57.26. It was the second fastest finish in the eight-year history of the Davis Turkey Trot half marathon division.
The women’s half marathon was won by local runner Beth Zinkand Michel, of Davis. Only two other women have posted faster times in the half marathon division in the past.
Then there was the 2 mile race, which saw hundreds of humans and many dogs cover the route through north Davis. From collies to golden retrievers to teacup pups in strollers, it was a paw-fect time had by all.
The morning rounded out with the running of four kids races, allowing the youngest turkeys the chance to trot. Approximately 250 kids took part, with the ‘Toddler Trot’ taking place as the last event of the morning.
The event was also the conclusion of the year-long Tour de FIT, a series of races that began in February and offered participants the chance to earn the series medal. This six-inch custom wooden medal was awarded at the Trot.
The next Turkey Trot will take place on the Saturday prior to the Thanksgiving, which in 2020 falls on November 21st.