Thousands join us for mile-high run

Diane stays ahead of the pack

Diane stays ahead of the pack.

Wessel and I had a lovely Thanksgiving run in Denver. We’d planned to go alone, but then about 7,600 others joined us. We were in the Mile-High City last week visiting my longtime friend Kelley Griffin. Kel and I met when we worked together at the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., some 20 years ago (ack). She’s now news director at Colorado Public Radio.

Earlier in the week, Wessel and I spied a park with a dirt running track during a drive downtown. Kel told us it was Washington Park, a city favorite for more than a century. “Wash Park” is pretty amazing. One of Denver’s nicest and largest (165 acres) parks, it has a 2.6-mile jogging path, several gardens, soccer fields, playgrounds, basketball court, horseshoe court, a lawn bowling green, 10 tennis courts, two lakes and a pond. Impressive! The best part for us was it was only a mile from Kel’s house.

Start of the Denver turkey trot

Start of Denver's 35th annual Turkey Trot.

We jogged over around 9:30 Thursday morning, and the closer we got the more people we saw driving or jogging up. Then we started to see people wearing numbers. Turned out it was the 35th annual 4-mile Turkey Trot, a T-Day fund-raiser for Mile High United Way. Runners of all ages and abilities were gathering for the 10:15 start. Luckily, we had just enough time to do our own trot around the dirt trail, passing runners and friends, and dogs of all breeds out with their humans for a stroll. (Of course the dachshund in a red coat was my favorite.)

Joggers wearing turkey hats

Festive trotters in turkey hats.

Around the time we completed the dirt perimeter trail (there’s a shorter paved inside loop as well), the runners were about to start. Even Mayor John W. Hickenlooper was there to cheer them on. As we watched from the side of the road, trotters kept coming and coming and coming. I read in the paper the next day that there were more than 7,600 of them. Some runners took it seriously, while others, sporting turkey hats and even turkey legs/feet, were more interested in the festivities.

Runners during the turkey trot

The things we do to make room for food.

We left feeling like we’d experienced a wonderful slice of Denver life — before trotting back home for our equally wonderful slice of turkey (and ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, asparagus, potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie ….)

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