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The Turkey Trot

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Anna Kimball, Phin Kimball, Si Kimball, Tripp Kimball

THANKSGIVING CALORIE BURN Tripp and Anna Kimball and sons Si and Phin have a tradition of running in the Houston Turkey Trot each year, along with the rest of their extended family.

Buzz Baby is a column about life with little ones. Writer Annie McQueen has three children age 4 and under.

Thanksgiving. For many, it’s a day filled with family togetherness, some football and turkey soaked in homemade gravy. And maybe a nap after.

But for some, Thanksgiving also means another tradition: trotting.

Every year on Thanksgiving morning, thousands line up in the Galleria area at 7:30 a.m. for the charity running/walking race known as Turkey Trot Houston.

The Turkey Trot has three options: a 10k, 5k and a non-timed 1k (otherwise known as the Kids’ Run). Families race together, with children and even babies in strollers.

For some, the race is a chance to honor a family member, inspire togetherness, or introduce a child to running. It’s a way to start the day of thankfulness – and calories – with a healthy challenge. 

Mom-of-two and business analyst Anna Kimball married into the Turkey Trot tradition. Even when her two boys, Phin, now 6, and Si, 4, were infants, she woke up early with her husband Tripp on Thanksgiving to trot, baby stroller and all.

Included in the Kimballs clan are parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. “We all meet at the start line amongst all the participants,” said Anna. “Some of us run the 10k, some the 5k and some walk, but we cheer each other on and join up for coffee and breakfast afterwards.”

When Phin was 3, he was riding in a jogging stroller. “He kept begging to get out of the stroller and run with us,” said Anna. “We held him off until the last mile, and when we finally let him run, he ran his heart out for every bit of that mile and crossed the finish line.”

Phin Kimball

Phin Kimball, holding his medal

The tradition has become more important than ever since the loss of Tripp’s beloved Uncle Ed O’Neill, a dedicated recreational runner and the person who inspired their family to participate. He signed the family up every year. “The Turkey Trot has been part of the Kimball Thanksgiving tradition for as long as [Tripp] remembers,” said Anna. 

The tradition became extra meaningful for the family five years ago when Uncle Ed was diagnosed with cancer. “We all showed up to run with him. It was his favorite part of Thanksgiving,” said Anna. Uncle Ed passed away earlier this year, and his legacy is continuing, as his family prepares to Trot again this year.

The Turkey Trot is a fundraiser that benefits BakerRipley, a non-profit that has served the Houston community for 110 years. Among other things, it teaches people how to earn wages, learn skills and belong in the community, through programs and community centers.

Another Buzz family who pounds the pavement at the Trot every year is the Smooke family. They have participated for the past 10 years, starting when their daughter Madison was 2.

At the starting lineup are parents Adam and Jacqueline, girls Hannah and Madison Smooke, now 7 and 10, grandparents Sharon and Rich Malone, and grandparents Joan and David Lebow. “The best [part] is just all of us being together and getting in some exercise before we have our big feast,” said Jacqueline.

The theme for this year’s Turkey Trot is a celebration of Houston’s recovery so far from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey and the brighter roads ahead. The theme is #HOUareStronger. 

Parents running with strollers are asked to line up towards the back for safety. “It gets very crowded,” says Anna. “Just be patient, and if you are planning to run, just be ready to maneuver your stroller through the crowds.”

So go ahead, Turkey Trotters. Help yourself to seconds. Take a long nap. You deserve it.

2018 Houston Turkey Trot

Date: Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018
Start times: 7:30 a.m. (Phillips 66 10k, for serious runners); 8 a.m. (Phillips 66 5k, recreational, medals for all); 9 a.m. (1k, untimed, kids/families)
Where: Post Oak Boulevard near Westheimer Road
Registration: For faster check-in, register online. Fees are $20-40.
Parking: Options include Container Store, Dillard’s, Galleria orange lot, T.J. Maxx, Best Buy.

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