THE CROSSEN FAMILY, WITH DAD MARK ON THE LEFT, WEARING
THEIR TURKEY HATS FOR THE HOLIDAY RACE.
NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER PHOTO

Record Turnout at Thanksgiving Race

BY NEAL RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Stephens City, VA--The 14th annual Thanksgiving Day race saw a record 658 finishers cross the finish line in the feature 5K event. Toss in an additional 40-plus kids in the three accompanying fun runs and it was a busy day at the Sherando High School Track (Go Warriors!).

The course starts and ends on the track and makes a loop that traverses the school’s campus and adjacent Sherando Park. The terrain is a mix of pavement, trails, grass and gravel paths. The first mile is often the fastest as 95% of it is run on pavement and is flat. The same can’t be said for the rest of the course as the last 2.1 miles are about 75% unpaved and hilly.

Brian Delamora, freshmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and a resident of Davis, California, was a first-time participant in this event. “I could not afford to fly back home for Thanksgiving so I am spending the holiday with some friends in Winchester.” A pack of six runners hit the one-mile mark in 5:20 as they entered the trails of the park. “I put on a little surge when we hit the trails and with all the twists and turns I was able to open up a small lead. I felt good the rest of the way and just focused on staying upright on the slick and muddy spots,” explained Delamora who runs track and cross-country for the Academy. Second place went to Thomas Delaney (16:47) while past winner Ryan Whitt (16:58) was third.

Defending champion and frequent winner Brenda Schrank took the lead at the gun and soled to victory as she stopped the clock at 19:42. “This event is a family tradition and it's great to have the whole family out here every year running and it was a great day to run,” explained the Physical Therapist and Health Care Sales Rep. Finishing second was Bobby Vance in 19:54 while Laurie Murphy (20:12) took third.

Chris Northrup (18:40) and Krista Farris 22:07) both repeated as top Masters in their respective divisions.

As soon as the last finisher is in for the 5K, a series of three events are held for the kids ranging from 200 yards to 800 yards. Everyone hangs over the fence cheering the tykes on as they run around the track. Lots of video cameras were noted and a number of beaming parents trotted along with their kids. Then some nice random drawings, the awards ceremony , and it's off to the holiday celebration for everyone.

And for those of you just dying to know, the annual Turkey Bowl football game was played on my home turf this year. Alas, after putting one in the end zone on our first drive to go up 7-0, my team lost (AGAIN) 35–21. When we got that first score on our opening drive, I yelled “GAME’S OVER” but no one listened…

Editor's note: Sorry the Turkey Bowl didn't go your way, Neal, especially after such a promising start. On to 2012!