Thursday, November 23, 2017

BWL Column: Gallup before you gobble?

BWL Column
The News-Press, 11/23/2017
by Ken Gooderham

Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot, 2011
For most of you, today is a day of food and family. But, for some of you, it’s also a day to lace up those running shoes and start the morning out with a run… specifically, a turkey trot.

There are no shortage of such opportunities around Southwest Florida, with Thanksgiving runs set from north (both Englewood and Punta Gorda) to south (Naples), and from venerated (Cape Coral, at 38 years) to newcomer (Estero, on its third year).

It makes sense to balance out a day so focused on food with a little early-morning exercise – the better to work up an appetite. But the idea of a Turkey Day race goes back a long way – and can cover a lot of different distances.

Likely the first such event was the Buffalo Turkey Trot, billed as the oldest continually running public footrace (established in 1896) in the United States. Some T-Day races draw thousands of runners and walkers, with events in Dallas and Austin pulling in 20,000 to 25,000 registrants.

Distances can vary, although the local preference is your standard 5K. At the other end of the spectrum was the Atlanta Marathon which, for more than 40 years, was held on Thanksgiving. (It has since been moved to another day.)

Locally, all our Thanksgiving events are early-morning 5Ks… so if you slept in this morning you missed all the action. Most benefit a worthy cause, from Habitat for Humanity (Punta Gorda) to the Cape Coral Hospital Wellness path (Cape Coral) to St. Matthew’s House (Naples) to San Carlos Park Roller Hockey (Estero) to the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation (Englewood).

If running is not your thing, or you’d rather eat first then exercise, grab your bike and get ready for a long ride.

Caloosa Riders offers its annual Turkey Leg Century on Friday, Nov. 24, with distances of 100 miles (a full century), 62 miles (a metric century) and 20 miles. On Sunday, you can join the Iron Joe Turkey Ride, with distances of 62, 30, 20 and 5 miles included in a full slate of events.

And if that’s all too energetic, it’s Critical Mass to the rescue with a Cape Coral ride Friday night and a downtown Slow Roll Saturday morning.

Just something to keep in mind as you reach for that second helping of stuffing and turkey.

Let’s give thanks

In the spirit of the day, a few things to be thankful for (feel free to add your own, of course):
  • Be thankful that, for as bad as Irma was, it could have been worse. Just ask the people in Puerto Rico or Houston. Here, the lights are on and the debris piles are (mostly) gone.
  • Be thankful that we live in a place where you can ride, run or walk every day, if you’re so inclined.
  • Be thankful we have such dedicated running and cycling clubs, who keep the events and enthusiasm coming.
  • Be thankful that, slowly but surely, we’re seeing improvements in the bike/walk infrastructure – and, because of that, an increase in the people biking, walking and running.
  • Finally, we hope, be thankful you can share this day with people who matter to you – people who give you another reason to be thankful.


Ready to ride or run?

Run? Looking beyond the Turkey Trots, be part of another tradition by joining the River Run 10K, celebrating 39 years in downtown Fort Myers on Saturday, Dec. 2. There’s also 5K race that day in both Cape Coral and Naples. Want to be part of a new tradition? Join the Babcock Ranch Jingle Bell 5K/10K for its first outing on Dec. 9. Find out more at, and respectively.

Ride? Besides the Turkey rides mentioned above, upcoming Critical Mass rides are Cape Coral (Friday night) Fort Myers (a Saturday morning slow roll), Fort Myers again (for a Dec. 1 night ride), NE Lee (Dec. 8 night) and Sanibel (Dec. 9 night). For night rides lights are required, helmets recommended, and details and sign-up info is online at

Both? You’ve got time to train for the Dec. 17 Christmas Duathlon & Triathlon set for Sugden Regional Park in Naples. Otherwise, check or for statewide events.


Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at 


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