Thanksgiving race

Race Preview: 2019 Keizer Turkey Dash

It’s hard to believe that the Keizer Turkey Dash 5k is in it’s 8th year. It’s even crazier to think that, in that time period, the number of participants has almost doubled (545 on year one to an expectation of continually over 600 each year)! The folks at the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and KC Runs (who also put on the Jingle Dash in December and the Iris Festival Runs in May), have a winning race on their hands and have done one of the best things for it – left it alone.
Since the race began back in 2012, the Keizer Turkey Dash has kept true to their model and only changed things when necessary. The starting area is giant (parking lot at Keizer Station mall), the course is straightforward and the same, and the finisher’s item (coffee mug) is unique and unchanged – aside from yearly updated designs. In a racing world where updates and changes are being made all the time (some necessarily), the Keizer Turkey Dash has remained consistent and, as a result, I believe has brought new people into the running community if only once per year. I know that this event has now become a tradition in my house. Here are a few snippets from my recap of the inaugural event.

We headed north in the quiet Keizer Station streets before veering off into the neighborhood streets of the Gubser neighborhood via a small tunnel under the railroad tracks. The entire course was open to traffic, but I honestly came across one car the entire time. There were a few volunteers at busier intersections, but it looked like they were all pretty bored with the lack of car activity and they passed their energies instead to us runners as we passed.

While I took a very leisurely pace to run with my wife and push our two-kiddo stroller, I did notice that this route would be perfect for those looking for a 5k PR (something to be thankful for). It is very flat with only a short gradual incline around mile 1.5 or so.

This race exceeded all expectations and the Mid-Willamette Valley (and others) showed up in droves for a great race. I envision this one continuing to grow and I know this will be on my yearly race calendar.

If you are looking to make a new tradition in your family, or want to come and check out a new Turkey Trot, I definitely recommend my hometown Thanksgiving race. Regardless, just get out there this holiday season and make some running memories! The race will benefit local partner – McNary’s Contemporary Music Program.

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When: November 28th at 8a
Where: Keizer Station – Lowes
Register: Online here; $30 adults (includes tech shirt) / $20 Youth (includes cotton shirt)
About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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