August 14, 2015
The Honolulu Marathon Clinic/Hawaii Sports Foundation Unique Turkey Trot.
The Turkey Trot held every Thanksgiving is not only unique, but a very important training run in preparation for the Honolulu Marathon. Not only that, it’s fun and even the slower runner can win!
By way of background we know the mistakes we make in the first 10 miles of the marathon will haunt us in the last 6. Secondly, the second half of the marathon should be run faster than the first half. People following these guidelines perform 4 – 5% better. The Turkey Trot’s 10 mile course is certified but it wends through the Honolulu/Kahala area in a somewhat unusual fashion much of which is part of the marathon course. Individuals predict their finish times in hours minutes and seconds with a 2 hour 20 minute cut off. The person coming closest to their predicted time is the winner. Because we need “tie-breakers”, we punish speed. An individual predicting 2 hours but finishing in 2 hours and 1 second will beat the runner who did it in 1 hour 59 minutes and seconds. Registration occurs online $7 non-refundable, or $8 one hour before the race in person. Each entrant is given a wooden tongue blade, is instructed to print their name and predicted time on one side and as they cross the finish line an official inscribes their actual finish time in pencil on the other side (ink doesn’t work…it bleeds in hot, humid sweaty conditions and you have no idea where some runners carry it)!
The race starts when everyone is gathered ready rather than at a specific time. After they have been marshaled to the start by a marine in full military dress carrying the Turkey Trot Flag (and after the Turkey Trot Anthem has been sung by our local Barbershop Quartet) followed by bagpipers is quite exciting to say the least. No watches, time pieces or cell phones are allowed. We generally have between 25 and 30 runners who finish within 5 seconds of their predicted time and maybe several hundred within 1 minute (truly remarkable, confirming it is not a fluke). Therefore it is an educational experience on Thanksgiving morning, a training run at most (albeit very important) and an excuse to eat all the turkey and trimmings we want without guilt.
Because our weather is so good, it is colorful as runners do not need to “bundle up”.
Jack H Scaff, Jr., M.D., President, Hawaii Sports Foundation, Director Honolulu Marathon Clinic