On Thanksgiving morning I joined family, Cruiser, and MRTT friends for the 23rd annual Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K. It’s become a fun tradition that I couldn’t imagine skipping. This race has grown to include a 10K, 5K, and 2K so there’s a distance for everyone!

As always, packet pick-up was super easy, and I had the added pleasure of seeing my friend Tracy and her two daughters who were volunteering.  Packet pick-up was held in the main hall of the Crossroads United Methodist Church, the race’s founder.  Race proceeds go to support education for children in Uganda. From the website:

Whether you run to win, run for fun, run to support a good cause, or run just because you want a guilt-free day of eating – plan to join us for the 23rd Annual Ashburn Farm 10K/5K and 2K Fun Run Thanksgiving Day races! Proceeds from the races continue to educate Ugandan children in primary, secondary and vocational schools in Uganda. Currently there are 85 students supported. Many more have completed secondary school and are in need of sponsors to continue their higher education. These children, who live in poverty and are extremely vulnerable, have been a mission of Crossroads UMC since 1999.


Photo credit: Tracy


Photo credit: Tracy


Photo credit: Tracy

The long sleeved men’s cut cotton shirts are not my favorite, and serve as a throw-away shirt for future races. There is an option to upgrade to a technical shirt for $15, but since I already have several long sleeved technical race shirts I’ve never been willing to spend the extra money.


As in the past, we had friends and family meet at our house to get ready, and then our little entourage walked to the race. This year Jess and Alan joined in on the costume fun – perhaps with a little arm twisting on my part.

My son Daniel was the turkey for his first time and his girlfriend Jess took over the girl pilgrim duties. With a little cajoling and flattery from me (“Alan, I think you’ll make such a handsome pilgrim”), our good friend, and fellow Cruiser, Alan agreed to wear the guy pilgrim costume. Erin, being extremely creative, flipped her son’s Halloween pizza costume and dressed as a slice of pumpkin pie – complete with a dollop of whipped cream on top!

Embracing my Cherokee Indian heritage, I dressed as an Indian princess. I think my great grandma Mandy would have been proud!


Photo credit: Bill

Before the start of the 10K, we joined our MRTT friends for our traditional pre-race picture. As usual, we had a great turnout! As in past years, we had two MRTT teams competing against other teams in the race – one team in the 10K and one team in the 5K.


Photo credit: Bill

I started the race several rows back just behind the 7:00 pace sign and just in front of the 8:00. There was an adorable little girl, perhaps eight years old, next to me who I towered over and I wondered if she understood the concept of self-seeding. I later learned that, indeed, she did.

My husband Bill was kind enough to join us as our very own official race photographer! Positioned on the sidelines, he was able to capture our friend Lesley, the race director, start the Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K race of 1,330 runners from her position on her ladder. There were 526 10K runners who started ten minutes before us.


Photo credit: Bill


Photo credit: Bill

Shortly after the leaders of the pack and just behind Alan and me, our crew ran past!


Photo credit: Bill

About a quarter mile into the race, huffing and puffing, I looked at my watch and realized that I was running a 6:55 pace so I slowed a bit as we approached our first gradual uphill. The cute little girl I mentioned earlier was still next to me and she stayed with me for at least two miles. I honestly don’t know if she took off and left me in her dust or finished behind me because once we got to an out-and-back section I started watching for friends and family across the parkway and didn’t see her again.

The first of our costumed runners to finish was Alan with a time of 22:03 (7:08 pace). I’m afraid I might have slowed him down a bit from his usual six-something pace by asking him to dress up, but he was gracious enough not to complain…


Photo credit: Bill

A few minutes later Bill caught me cruising across the finish line with an unbelievable time of 23:52 (7:41 pace) and first in my age group – wearing an Indian costume no less. My splits for the race were:

  • Mile 1 – 8:00
  • Mile 2 – 7:47
  • Mile 3 – 7:36
  • Final .1-Mile – :30

I’ve been chasing a sub-25 for the last two years so I was thrilled to run a sub-24! I haven’t been able to hit even close to that kind of pace since this very same race in 2014. My 5K PR was almost twenty years ago when I raced mostly marathons, but squeezed out a 7:23 pace for a 22:57 finish time.


Photo credit: Bill


Photo credit: Bill

Next of our costumed entourage crossing the finish line was the turkey who had taken off to leave his pilgrim girlfriend in his dust. See Jess behind him and to the right in the picture below – her long white apron is easy to pick out!


Photo credit: Bill

Jess, who ran a sub-4-hour Philly Marathon last Sunday, was right behind Daniel. She’d gotten too hot during the race and had taken her bonnet off. Seeing this picture reminds me of how the collar kept twisting when I wore the costume two years ago.


Photo credit: Bill

Julie, her sister Meredith, and Joseph (not pictured) followed shortly after Jess.


Photo credit: Bill

Completing our family of participants, Bill captured Janet approaching the finish line as she completed the 10K finishing strong at the end of a fantastic race.


Photo credit: Bill

Happy to have another of my favorite races in the books, my friend Tracy, who had come to cheer us in, captured me jumping for joy!


Photo credit: Tracy

I had to leave the race before the medal presentation, so I stopped by the church later to pick up my medal. It’s very cool with the race logo on the front that swivels to reveal “5K Women’s 1st Place 55-59.”


Our MRTT 5K team placed third out of sixteen teams with an average 5K time of 25:15, and our MRTT 10K team placed fifth out of six teams with an average 10K time of 55:40. Congrats, teammates!


5K 3rd-Place Team Medals

As in past years, we invited our Cruiser friends back to our house after the race and enjoyed a pumpkin swirl cake, washed down by mimosas and coffee. Our little post-race brunch makes for a busy Thanksgiving morning, but I wouldn’t trade this tradition for anything. Thank you, friends, for making it so fun!

I hope to see you next year at the Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K!


  • Questions:
  • Have you run in a costume at a race?
  • What is the best costume you’ve seen at a race?
  • Did you run in a turkey trot or another race this weekend? 


Happy Running! ~ Deb