Normally, at road races, things are pretty simple for competitors and race directors alike.
Show up. Register. Run. Sweat. Finish.
Then, collect and distribute awards, and journey on home.
But every Sunday before Thanksgiving in Brewer, there is sort of a different spectacle as local runners gather one last time for the final big race of the season: the Brewer High 3-mile Turkey Trot.
Festivities get under way with the kids’ mile at 12:30 p.m. and the subsequent 3-mile race at 1. Registration tables will open at 10:30 a.m., a half hour earlier than usual, for a pretty big reason.
“Usually what happens is we mail out an entry form [to runners], and all that information got lost, so I wasn’t able to do that,” Brewer sophomore class advisor Steve Van Dolman said. “So we only have 200 signed up right now.”
In other words, there are still plenty of T-shirts up for grabs – the first 300 to sign up receive a commemorative long-sleeve shirt.
The race is sponsored by W.S. Emerson and put on by Brewer’s sophomore class. When former Brewer track coach Jamerson Crowley left to take a similar position and teaching job at Lewiston High, Van Dolman, the 2008-09 freshman class advisor, stepped right in as sophomore advisor.
“Pretty much nobody was all that interested,” he said. “I was freshman advisor last year, so I moved up with them. It’s a good bunch of kids and they’ve worked hard.”
The 200 that are registered don’t include any big names, such as 2008 winners Riley Masters and Jo-Ann Nealy, but it’s not out of the question that they could show up.
“I asked Dave [Jeffrey] recently if the predicted winner had signed up yet and he said no,” Van Dolman said.
In addition to Thanksgiving turkeys that go to overall and category winners, there is plenty at stake Sunday, since this is the final race in the Sub 5 race series, and both the men’s and women’s titles are up for grabs.
On the men’s side, Erik McCarthy leads Andy Goupee 48 points to 46, and Goupee must finish ahead of McCarthy to have a shot.
For the women, Anne Favolise-Stanton has a 48-47 edge over Kristine Guaraldo.
Guaraldo and Goupee are both former Brewer High runners.
The Dirigo Drive course, which is going into its third year of use, starts near the corner of Parkway South and Dirigo, crosses Parkway South and turns around at the Cianchette Building and finishing up near the corner of Parkway and Dirigo.
Van Dolman, who coaches the University of Maine’s club hockey team, has never been in charge of a road race before, but is getting plenty of help with the behind-the-scenes operations.
“Luckily I’ve had Dave Jeffrey. He’s been able to answer every question I’ve had,” he said.
Jeffrey, the longtime race director before Crowley took over in 2007, and Glen Holyoke, a teacher at Brewer Middle School, have been instrumental, and Holyoke will oversee the timing aspects on Sunday while Van Dolman and his sophomore class will take care of logistics such as registration and distributing awards and raffles.
Registration fees are $12 for the 3-mile and $6 for the kids’ mile.
The postrace prize drawing will include a stuffed turkey, which will contain at least $500 in cash, Van Dolman said.