By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – Durant Trails and Open Space is providing an opportunity to build up an appetite in advance of the big meal on Thanksgiving afternoon.
The inaugural Turkey Chase 5K and Fun Run is set for Thursday, Nov. 23, at the newly opened Crooked Smile Trail, Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s new cross country path.
Mike Delloro, president of Durant Trails and Open Space, said the organization wanted to put together an event for the community.
“With Thanksgiving being an important time of year, this will give people the opportunity to shed some calories and get out and enjoy the new cross country course that has been put in – the Crooked Smile Trail,” Delloro said. “You know, it’s just another way to bring the community together.”
Scheduled for Thanksgiving morning, runners can walk and register up that morning, or can register at the group’s website durantopenspace.com and click on Turkey Chase Registration. The fee is $20, which includes a T-shirt.
“For those who come late, we will be ordering (shirts),” Delloro said. “We have close to 130 runners for our first year. It seems like every day we have a few more come in, so we may have 150 runners in our first event.”
Funds raised from this event will go toward engineering costs and construction of a new bridge across Chuckwa Creek for people to be able to walk from the university parking lot at the Visual and Performing Arts Center to the Crooked Smile Trail and softball park.
Registration and packet pick-up opens at 7 a.m. on Thursday, the 5K begins at 8 a.m and the one-mile fun run begins at 9 a.m.
“It will start right at the cross country trail, which is right next to the softball complex on First Avenue,” Delloro said. “That’s where the race will be held and where the registrations tents will be. Everybody is going to be parking at the intramural field.
“There is still time for the citizens of Bryan County and surrounding areas to come out and come chase the turkey. It should be a great event and maybe will make you feel a little less guilty after a big thanksgiving meal later in the day. The beauty of it is that we will be done by 10 a.m. and you will still have the rest of the day to cook and get ready for the Thanksgiving meal.”
And will there be a live turkey to chase?
“There will be a surprise turkey, that’s the way we’re wording it,” Delloro said. “It won’t be a live turkey, but it will be a surprise.”
Delloro also said this is something that the group would like to build and to become a staple event for Bryan County in years to come.
“I know a lot of other cities have these big runs and things,” Delloro said. “And obviously, Colton’s Run has become a big part of the community. This could be great to get the community more active and enjoying the outdoors and with a great venue like this new Southeastern trail that’s tremendous.”
More information is available about the 2017 Turkey Chase at the Durant Trails and Open Space account on Facebook.