For the last two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to help out the race director at the Give ‘N Gobble Thanksgiving Run/Walk in Sherwood. There are many Turkey Trot races to choose from here in Oregon, but whenever I am asked which one I recommend, I always suggest the Give N Gobble, (and I would even if I wasn’t volunteering my time to help out.)
This race, which offers both a 5k and a 10k option, runs like a well-oiled machine. The people who live in Sherwood take pride in their corner of Oregon, and it’s extremely evident during this event. The whole community supports this race, from those who volunteer at the water stations and the tee-shirt booth year after year after year, to those who stand in the neighborhoods to cheer every single runner and walker on throughout the course. And then, of course, there are those who come in droves to run or walk in the event every single year, and the event sells out, so that tells you something.
Not only is this a well supported event, it’s also for a really great cause. If I’m being totally honest, there are a lot of events that say they are for a cause, but not all of them give as much as you’d think. This is not the case for the Give N Gobble, which is a food drive as well as a race. A free t-shirt is given to all registered participants who donate a bag of non-perishable food. The Give N Gobble supports Helping Hands, which enables this awesome organization to provide hundreds of meals to needy families. The Give N Gobble also funds the Backpack Meals for Kids program which provides over 50,000 meals to kids every year. I can’t think of many better causes to donate your time to on Thanksgiving Day.
This year’s Give N Gobble event was blessed with blue skies and no rain. It was, however, cold, and as someone who stood outside from 7:00AM to 11:00AM, I can tell you it took a REALLY long time for my toes to warm up when I went home. If you were a runner though, it was really kind of a perfect day for a race.
The race occurs at the Sherwood High School Stadium (which I guess will be the middle school next year since Sherwood is getting a brand spankin’ new high school) and the energy there race morning is very positive. There was warm coffee at the start line and yummy concessions too, including donuts and fresh fruit. There’s a photo booth available, which is always a lot of fun, and Meraki Fitness was there to get participants all warmed up. There were several people wearing the foam turkey hats that are handed out to participants, and many were bopping around to the peppy music out on the track where everyone began lining up before the 9:00AM start time. Lots of runners and walkers were in costumes that ranged from pilgrims to head-to-toe turkeys.
There were two lines designed to separate the walkers from the runners, and the walkers get the chance to start heading up to the start line around 8:45AM to get a head start on the runners and to alleviate congestion. The race began on time and everyone was ready to get it done before heading home to families and turkey dinners. This is a great family-friendly event, as many families register together.
I have never officially run the course on race day, but I have run it unofficially with our own Kelly Barten last year, as we wanted to see what it was like. It’s hilly, no doubt, but really beautiful. There are some great country roads out there and it’s a nice switch-up from the typical Portland scene. This year I had a few of my clients (I’m a running coach) out there and they enjoyed the experience. It was well marked and well supported, and those are pretty much the most important things that you can ask for as a runner or walker.
Maybe one of these years, I will actually participate in this event as a runner, but for now, I’m happy being there for the fun. It’s a great way to start off your Thanksgiving holiday and a good excuse to get out of the house for a bit. Next year, I was told that there will NOT be race day registration available, so get registered for this one early and you won’t regret it. I hope to see some more friends out there next year.