The 28th Turkey Bowl 5K (3.1 miles) Run, sponsored by the BJU Alumni Association, will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. near the Activity Center on Stadium View Drive.
The annual Turkey Bowl Run, held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, is an opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy some active fun. The 5K run, which usually brings in between 380 and 450 runners, welcomes BJU alumni, faculty and staff, present BJU and BJA students, and children and family members of runners. Spectators can watch from the bleachers at Alumni Stadium, where the finish line is located.
The cost for the run is $10 for students and $20 for non-students. This fee goes toward a T-shirt for each runner, food and refreshments, an official timing and scoring system, and a well laid out and marked course. Additionally, trophies are given to the male and female first-place winners, and fun prizes are given out to winners in each age group category. Jonathan Pait, manager of events and services for the BJU Alumni Association, said the run provides “high level experience for minimal cost.”
Pait said his favorite thing about the Turkey Bowl Run is seeing the progression from a large group of people running off at the sound of the air horn to seeing the first person cross the finish line.
If you want to be that first person to cross the finish line, Lauren Douglas and Daniel Sasek, senior nursing majors, have some tips for you. Douglas is running this year in her fourth Turkey Bowl 5K, and Sasek is running in his second. To prepare for the Turkey Bowl Run, Douglas runs two to three times a week, starting several weeks before the run. She starts running 1 mile and gradually lengthens her run each time until she reaches 3 miles. Sasek prepares for the 5K by running 3 miles three times a week, as his schedule allows.
On the day of the run, Douglas suggests waking up with enough time to eat a healthy breakfast. She usually eats a banana, which is full of potassium, or a carb-rich food, which is good to eat before running. After eating, Douglas arrives 20 to 30 minutes early to stretch before the race starts.
Sasek starts his morning slightly differently. “I usually just eat an energy bar, down some coffee and water, do some simple stretches and go for a brief jog on my way over to get warmed up,” Sasek said.
Douglas suggests that runners wear appropriate clothing for the crisp weather, making sure to cover their ears. Douglas also reminds runners to drink both Gatorade, which has electrolytes, and water to stay hydrated. If you are having trouble breathing while running, Douglas suggests breathing through your nose, and if you get tired during the run, she suggests slowing down your pace to save energy for the finish line sprint.
The Turkey Bowl Run is low pressure and a wonderful opportunity for someone to experience their first 5K. “Don’t be intimidated,” Pait said. Participants are of a wide variety of ages, and physical ability, from running the whole duration to walking each step.
A lot of hard work is done in preparation for the Turkey Bowl run. Pait and the rest of the staff at the Alumni Association post signage along the course, provide the food and refreshments, order the T-shirts, trophies and prizes, and complete various other duties to make sure the event runs smoothly and that the day is both successful and fun.
So why should you give up precious hours of sleep to run a 5K? Douglas says she participates in the Turkey Bowl Run to make memories with her friends and to keep herself active during the busy and often stressful college life. Sasek said he enjoys running in general but also loves the competition that is involved in a 5K.
Douglas encourages people to run the 5K with a group of friends. Help each other out during the run, Douglas said, and cheer each other on, especially at the end. Similarly, Sasek urges runners to make sure their shoes are tied, give it all they’ve got and just have fun.