Race Preview: McMinnville’s TurkeyRama Turkey Trot on July 12

There is something unique about racing in your hometown. This race course has not changed since I first did it, at the age of 13. It was my first road race, first 8k, and the first and only time my mom got a picture of me puking at the finish line. The event has changed little since then, except they are now for the first time going to have chip timing. No promises I will be puking again, but I hope not. If I remember correctly, there are usually a couple hundred participants, and it offers all the standard amenities. In addition to the 8K, there is a 5K you can run or walk, and a 2 mile walk course. The beneficiary is the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation.

The 5k is not a flat and fast course. It has several rollers in the beginning and a nasty (fun) climb about half way through. I did it the last two years as it was a new addition to the event. I enjoyed it and was able to get just under 16:30 both times if I remember correctly. The course is on residential streets for the most part. The miles are generally marked, as is the course, getting lost should not be an issue.

The 8k is a bit of a conundrum. It begins on the same course as the 5, and has a decent sized hill just before mile 2. The rest is flat and it actually only has 5 turns, so it should technically be a ‘fast’ course. In training, for the locals I know and myself, it has been. On race day, something happens. We tend to run slower than expected. We can’t explain it. But we still return. There is two stretches on the outskirts of town that are just beautiful, and conducive to fast running. On one of the sections through the residential neighborhoods, the locals have been known to pull up lawn chairs to cheer participants, and hose us down (literally) as we pass.

Post race refreshments are at the park a couple blocks from the finish. Awards follow there as well. Raffle prizes are generally plentiful and if you want entertainment after, there is a car show nearby. You can register at the official site or day of. Another perk of this event is you might see local running celebrity Greg Mitchell as he tears away from the pack in the beginning. Or you could have the misfortune of seeing me puking at the finish. At my 18th appearance at this event, I hope I am experienced enough that it will not be occurring.

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