I hope everyone had an enjoyable, relaxing Thanksgiving day.

I joined around 800 folks or so on a brisk and breezy holiday, and unexpectedly dry, morning, coursing around the streets of Uniontown in the annual Turkey Trot. The race benefits the work of the Salvation Army, but also is a wonderful opportunity for community and kinship.

Families and friends gathered early on wintry day to share the experience (which I contend leads to a calorie-free day!) 

Nephew Brian Lohr ran with a group of high school cross country buddies in the Greensburg chapter. The numbers were so great in that race Brian said, via his chip time, it took him 20 seconds to reach the start line.

But, as I was thinking about Thanksgiving, the day is also one to be shared with those who aren’t around.

Last Friday marked the 10th anniversary of my dad’s passing after a lengthy hospital stay. The day dad died also happened to be my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary. (My mom contends he did so on purpose. Dad did have an Irish ornery streak in him, so, just maybe …)

Health issues took my dad’s eyesight and mobility, but his hearing was still pretty good. (Though, at times, he did have “selective” hearing issues when he didn’t want to do something.)

A decade ago around this time I wrote a column about how my dad so enjoyed sports, so he would’ve patiently listened as Brian and myself explained what the races were like and all the happenings. He would've handled my elegant trophy (which became the centerpiece of the tablescape on the kids' table) and been amazed that many folks gathered in downtown Uniontown at one time to participate in a 5K.

The holiday is also one to share with those who live afar. The youngest of the Downeys, Jennifer, is still probably clearing the foot of snow that dumped on Denver a couple days ago. She managed to check in, though.

My first Turkey Trot was in similar weather in 2012 with fellow sportswriter Cecelia Jo Record.

Cecelia Jo was out of town in 2015, really out town, serving her Army Reserve stint in Europe. I concocted a plan for a “virtual” race. It didn’t go off as we had originally planned, but Cecelia Jo managed to do a 5K in the dark somewhere on her base to share another Turkey Trot.

The wheels were turning again and we did so again yesterday, although Cecelia Jo's extensive search was unable to turn up any Turkey Trots near her home in Alabama. She dialed up a nearby 5K course she participated on and, leaving her family home in bed, struck out by herself to share the 5K experience.

"It was just me," said Cecelia Jo. "The course is in Magnolia Springs. Interesting point about Magnolia Springs, is the only U.S. city that delivers mail by boat."

The weather conditions were a bit different on her walk, though.

"It was in the high 50s. It was perfect conditions," said Cecelia Jo, adding with a laugh, "It was too hot to wear my Turkey Trot shirt."

She encountered a family out for a pre-Thanksgiving meal walk and the sight kicked in a memory from our first Turkey Trot.

"When I passed the family, I reminded me of that kid that was running with the walker's bib and the lady that got into an argument with his dad," said Cecelia Jo.

The 2019 race went off without a hitch (except for the biting wind as we waited for the awards ceremony). Thanks to all the volunteers, especially those who guarded the intersections. Also kudos the the SERJ folks for handling the results in a quick, efficient manner. 

Looking forward to the 2020 race (when I enter a new age group ... ugh.)

Enjoy your Black Friday shopping trip. Be safe!

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