More than 5,000 people showed up to the 36th annual Kirkwood/Webster Turkey Day Run on Thanksgiving to run in the three and six mile races.
Mark Spewak, owner of Spewak Training, participated in the 3 mile race with clients from his running company. Spewak is a marketing and communications major at Webster University and said he has attended the Turkey Day Run with his family every year since he was 7 years old.
This was Spewak’s third year running the Turkey Day Run with his clients.
Spewak Training trains people to run at races like the Turkey Day Run. Spewak said the Thanksgiving race is different than most of the races he and his clients attend because it brings out non-runners.
“We use this race as a stepping stone for the other races they’re training for,” Spewak said. “And to earn your turkey, obviously.”
Stephanie Detwiler, a member of Spewak Training, ran in the Turkey Day Run for the fourth time.
Detwiler said the Thanksgiving day race is more fun than the average race.
“It’s more competitive,” Detwiler said. “It’s like the Super Bowl for runners.”
Detwiler ran a better time than her last Turkey Day Run by six seconds.
Runners tracked their times from when they crossed the starting line until they ran under the inflatable blue finish sign. It took more than five minutes for the 4,206 runners to cross the starting line for the 3 mile race.
Tim Rackers, 25, of Louisville, Colorado came in first place for the three mile race with a 0:04:38 mile time and 0:13:53 overall time.
Colin Cernik, 24, of Kansas City, Kansas won in the six mile category with a 0:05:05 mile time and a 0:30:29 overall time.
Julia Kohnen was the first woman to finish in both the three and six mile races. Kohnen runs at Big River Running Company, where Spewak trains as well.
Kohnen said she is new to the running community.
“If it wasn’t for Jason, our coach, and Mark, I probably wouldn’t know what I’m doing half the time out there,” Kohnen said. “There’s just so much more to it than people think.”
Kohnen finished the 3 mile race 17th overall and finished the 6 mile race ninth overall. Kohnen was the first woman to finish in both races at the 2016 Turkey Day Trot along with this year.
Spewak finished 129th overall in the 3 mile race. He said he was there mainly to support his clients.
“It was really fun to see everyone come out here on Thanksgiving and compete hard,” Spewak said. “We had a lot of clients with [personal records].”
Spewak said one of the best things about the Kirkwood/Webster Turkey Day Run is that the community rallies around the event. He said the Thanksgiving race is one of about 30 he attends every year.