Race Recap: Coast Guard Turkey Trot

My brother was recently transferred to Coast Guard Station Chetco River, so he and his family moved to Brookings, Oregon. My husband and I decided to visit him and his family for Thanksgiving, since they were finally living a little closer to us.  I looked online for a local Turkey Trot and couldn’t find one.  I suggested a family turkey trot to my brother and he said something about that being a good idea.  I kind of figured that just he and I would go out for our own little run before Thanksgiving dinner.  A couple days later my brother sent me this photo.

I had unknowingly inspired a Turkey Trot for his Coast Guard Station. Now I had my Thanksgiving Day run!

Arriving at Coast Guard Station Chetco River on Thanksgiving morning, I realized that I couldn’t just drive right in to the well-secured station.  I parked nearby and waited for my brother  to arrive and let me in the gate. I’ll admit, that was a little intimidating initially, but as soon as I saw my little brother I was ready to embark on this “Coastie Trot.”

While we waited for start time, my brother showed me around the station and introduced me to some of the crew. Part of them were hard at work and others were off-duty and milling about getting ready for the Turkey Trot. It was strange to hear everyone refer to my little brother as “Senior.” But, as Senior Chief, I guess that comes with the territory.

Around start time about 15-20 of us gathered in front of the station’s gate.  The majority of the runners were Coast Guard and the rest of us were relatives and/or spouses.  The camaraderie among the crew was apparent.  Some of them threw a football back and forth, others chatted and joked around, and when one of the wives announced she was having a baby girl there were cheers of delight from many.

After a brief explanation of the course by my brother (which made absolutely no sense to me), one of the crew members started us off with, “On your mark. Get set. Go!” And we were off on our self-timed run. Fortunately, my brother slowed his usual pace to run with me so that I wouldn’t get lost.  We ran down a street then veered off through a parking lot and between buildings. Then we headed down a grassy embankment, leaped over large muddy section and headed through stacks and stacks of crab pots ready for opening day of crab season.  Then we headed out towards a jetty, referred to by everyone as simply “Number 11.”  On the jetty we met the leaders on their way back.  We were greeted with high fives as they made their way back to the station.  The mood continued to be upbeat and jovial as we passed others along the jetty.  At the end we circled around and made our way back.

Crab pots along our Turkey Trot route in Harbor/Brookings.

I haven’t run with my brother for years. In fact, I hadn’t seen him in about 2 years as he was living in Michigan, so it was great to catch up as we ran together.  As we made our way back through the crab pots, he caught sight of one of the local crab boat captains and stopped to ask him a few questions.  I continued on, knowing he would catch me soon enough.  I set my sights on one of the female crew members up ahead of me and passed her before my brother caught back up to me.  Then it was back to chatting with my brother as we headed towards the station to the finish.  At the last minute, the crew member I had passed made a break for it.  I broke into a sprint to race her to the finish, but she beat me by a hair. I finished with a high-five from one of the crew members and then congratulated my last minute competitor with a high-five, as well.

Everyone was in good spirits at the finish and cheered for each finisher arriving.  I did my usual post-run stretching and enjoyed the upbeat chatter and true camaraderie among the crew around me.  As everyone finished, the football toting guys rounded up the crew for a football game in the nearby grassy area.  Everyone (both male and female) seemed eager to join in on the fun.  I headed off for more of a tour around the station with my brother as he waved off today’s football game knowing there would be another next week, as there always is, that he would join in on.

This casual Turkey Trot was truly a family affair with a positive, cheerful atmosphere.  As I drove off to shower and get ready for Thanksgiving dinner, their enthusiasm and cheerfulness came with me. I thought about how this group of people had come together and really bonded and become a Coast Guard family.  If only more environments fostered that camaraderie. It was definitely a Turkey Trot to remember.

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