About Turkey Dash Charlotte

The 2019 Turkey Dash Charlotte was held at The Village at Robinson Farm in Charlotte, NC on a gorgeous Thanksgiving morning with near perfect racing weather. The event is a family run labor of love described on their Facebook page as “… a way to celebrate and give thanks for all the gifts we’ve been given, and to share some of those gifts with our charity partner, Beds for Kids.”

From their website:

Turkey Dash is honored to support Beds for Kids as our Charity Partner. They are fully invested in helping Charlotte-area families in transition with the dignity and respect they deserve.


Registering for the 2019 Charlotte Turkey Dash

I registered for the race in mid-October after receiving an invitation from our son’s girlfriend Jess to spend Thanksgiving with her parents in Charlotte, NC. Jess’ mom made sure we knew that there was a Thanksgiving morning race in which we could run after learning that was our family’s tradition. I’ve run in either the Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 5K or 10K ten of the last twelve years and was happy to continue the tradition at another race in a new-to-me city.


Packet Pickup

Packet pickup was held at Bradshaw’s Social House in The Village at Robinson Farm shopping center. I texted a picture of the barcode I’d received in my confirmation email to Daniel and Jess, and they picked up my packet Wednesday morning while we were driving to Charlotte. The shirt is unisex and we all know how I feel about unisex shirts; however, the fabric is amazingly soft and the neckline isn’t too terribly high and uncomfortable so I’m sure I’ll wear it occasionally.

Shirt front…

Turkey Dash Charlotte


Shirt back…

Turkey Dash Charlotte


Getting Ready to Run

We arrived at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church and parked in their parking lot at around 8 for our 8:30 AM race. It was a short walk to The Village at Robinson Farm where the race festivities were already going strong. About half way into our walk I realized that I’d forgotten my GoPro (affiliate link) so I turned to run back to retrieve it from the car. That short run (no more than a half mile total) was the only warmup I got.

Once back with the group, Daniel and I headed to the porta potty line which was snaking around the parking lot. There were plenty of potties for a race of that size, but people were taking their sweet time sauntering to the open ones as other runners exited. A singe line feed to two banks of porta potties which also made watching for an open door a little more challenging. With about only five minutes left until race time, a women in front of us started encouraging everyone to move a little faster. People took note and some actually jogged toward the opening doors. 😉


With just a few minutes to spare, Daniel and I joined Jess and her brother Zach and made our way into the starting corral. There were no pace signs so we placed ourselves somewhat near the front, well in front of the walkers.


There was a huge sea of runners behind us…


And even though we started a decent way back (farther than usual for me in a race with lots of kids at the starting line), I didn’t feel like I had to maneuver around slower runners and walkers at the start which is often an issue with smaller community races.


And We’re Off!

Promptly at 8:30 AM and with little fanfare, we were sent on our way.

Turkey Dash Charlotte

Photo credit: Bill


The Course

I’d describe the course as easy with a few rolling hills and not at all difficult. According to my Garmin (affiliate link), we only had an elevation change of 140 feet.

The following course flyover video was a great help because the above map meant zero to me since I’d never been to Charlotte prior to the night before the race.


The First Mile

With the temperature around 50° and warming up by the minute, I realized almost immediately that I was way overdressed. I’d added my ear-warmer headband at the last minute based on a forecast I’d seen earlier in the morning showing that the temps would drop gradually before leveling out. Knowing how cold my hands get I’d also put on gloves, planning to carry them once my hands warmed up. In retrospect, I should have worn a tank and shorts without my headband or gloves.

About a half mile into the race I pulled out my GoPro for a pic with Daniel and Jess and had no idea this guy had photobombed me until I downloaded the video. HaHa!


Funny thing is, I didn’t notice him at all during the race, but we must have stuck together, because he finished four seconds behind me and can be seen in the distance rounding the corner in the first of the two pictures Bill took as I neared the finish line.


Shortly after taking the above pictures, I slipped off my gloves and dropped one in the process. It was too crowded to turn and scoop it up so I kept on running, letting that glove take one for the team.

The first mile was the flattest mile of the race and I finished it with a time of 8:47, feeling like I was struggling a little more than usual at that pace.


Moving on to Mile 2

During our second mile, we made two right hand turns and had a gradual downhill followed by a gradual uphill before coming to a water stop just before we ended the mile. I came to a full stop and drank my entire cup of water before shoving my other glove into my cup and tossing it into the trash.

I finished my second mile with a time of 9:15 and feeling a little recovered after catching my breath at the water stop.


Continuing Along Mile 3

The third mile was a gradual uphill with a few very short rolling downhills and only about 100 feet total climb. We were in a very pretty area with a lot more trees lining the street than any other part of the course. The hill must have had an effect on me because I finished the third mile in 9:25.


Mile 4, Say What? This Isn’t a 5K?

After a little more uphill, the course flatted out before we turned right for a nice downhill segment. When we got to the 3.1-mile point, I pulled out my GoPro for a thumbs down picture because normally I’d be wrapping up one of my shorter races at this point. On the up side, I knew I’d have an automatic PR because I’d never raced a 4-miler before! The nice little down hill felt good and I finished the forth mile in 8:50.


Rounding the Corner to the Finish Line

As soon as I turned back into The Village at Robinson Farm, I could see the finish line in the distance and quickly picked out Bill kneeling just where he said he’d be waiting to take our pictures. As I rounded the corner, I turned on my jets and ran the final section at a 6:29 pace.

My official time was 36:31 (9:08 pace) and 1st out of 18 in my age group. In lieu of age group awards, the race organizers made donations in our honor to a local charity. It was the first time I’d heard of a race doing that and I thought it was the perfect way to honor Thanksgiving.

According to my watch, I didn’t run my tangents perfectly because my Garmin showed 4.04 miles at 36:31 (9:02 pace).

  • Mile 1 – 8:47
  • Mile 2 – 9:15
  • Mile 3 – 9:25
  • Mile 4 – 8:50
  • Final .04 mile – 6:29 pace

Photo credit: Bill

Turkey Dash Charlotte

Photo credit: Bill

Once we crossed the finish line we were handed a medal and a bottle of water. Immediately after I finished the race I found Daniel and Jess (and my jacket) and we posed for this picture. I wasn’t hungry and didn’t even think to look for the post-race refreshments and take a picture for my recap. Oops!


More Great Captures by Bill

Prior to seeing me finish, Bill captured Jess finishing with a time of 34:29 (8:37 pace). She missed placing third in her age group by only 14 seconds and felt that had she known, she could have easily picked up the pace.

Turkey Dash Charlotte

Photo credit: Bill

Out of our group, Daniel finished next with a time of 35:41 (8:55 pace), right after him was Zach (who Bill didn’t see), and I brought up the rear.

Turkey Dash Charlotte

Photo credit: Bill

Shoutout to the Winners

Finishing while I was somewhere in my third mile was 24-year-old Jake Brumfield of Miamisburg, Ohio winning the race with a time of 22:07 (5:32 pace). Finishing in second place overall and winning the women’s division was 23-year-old Maria Scavuzzo of Oxford, Ohio 23:00 (5:45 pace). Congrats to both!


Planning Ahead for Medal Monday

And of course with today’s social media frenzy, I planned ahead for my #medalmonday post on Instagram by taking this picture before leaving the finish area.

Turkey Dash Charlotte


Post-Race Fun

We eventually made our way to Bradshaw’s Social House for our free beer. Those who know me know that I don’t like beer, but I grabbed one for the picture and then gave it to a friend.

Photo credit: Bill

As we were leaving, I asked Daniel to run back to the finish line with me for one final picture.


Final Thoughts on Turkey Dash Charlotte

As in the past twelve  years, running a race to start my Thanksgiving was exactly what I wanted to do. Finding a well organized and fun turkey trot made it all the better. If you live in the Charlotte, NC area and are looking for a fun way to start your Thanksgiving morning, give this race a try. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did!


  • Questions:
  • Did you run a race on Thanksgiving morning?
  • Do your wear themed outfits or colors for holiday races?
  • How did you celebrate Thanksgiving?


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