Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and of course, to all our troops serving us overseas.
Of course, Thanksgiving also means there are plenty of road races on the docket, and runners traditionally will head to a local race before stuffing their bellies full of turkey, stuffing, pie, mashed potatoes, and other goodies.
Perhaps the most tradition-laden event lies in Portland, where the Thanksgiving Day 4-miler will celebrate its 28th birthday today.
The race starts at 9 a.m. in downtown Portland and features a two-loop tour of the Old Port. More than 1,000 runners are expected to participate.
Last year, 1,313 completed the race and some local runners traditionally make the trek downstate to run.
Case in point, Bar Harbor’s Judson Cake finished fifth last fall in a fast field in which brothers Nicholas and Curtis Wheeler finished 1-2.
Christine Reaser of Dayton is the reigning champion on the women’s side.
Registration will cost $20, and the kids’ 1K run, which precedes the main event at 8:30, is only $3, while a souvenir from the race will be given to those who bring a non-perishable food item for Project Feed, a local food pantry.
Runners can pick up their racing materials on race morning from 7-8:45 a.m. at the One City Center Food Court, and free parking will be available at the One City Center garage on Congress Street.
There are also three other races – including two today – that are options.
The other turkey day events include the Gasping Gobbler 5K at Cony High School in Augusta, starting at 8:30 a.m., and the Greely Hockey Thanksgiving Day 5K Turkey Trot at 8 a.m. in Cumberland.
On Saturday, you can head to Ellsworth for the first Run for the Leftovers 5K, which will take place on the Woodlawn Black House Museum’s cross country trails.
Racing gets under way at 1 p.m. and runners can choose between running a 3K, 4K or a 5K.
Water and apple cider will be provided post-race, and runners are encouraged to bring pie to share. Contact Peter Kenney at 288-3909 for additional information.
The Master of Sub 5
With his victory in the Brewer Turkey Trot on Sunday, University of Maine sophomore Riley Masters of Veazie clinched the Sub 5 race series points championship.
Masters, who also claimed series wins at the Epic Finale 5K last December, the Bangor YMCA Milk Mile in June and the Walter Hunt 3K in July, along with a second-place run at the Fort Knox Bay Festival 5K, needed just one more race entering the Turkey Trot to be eligible for postseason honors.
Runners must complete five of the 12 series races to be eligible.
Masters’ win Sunday gave him 10 points and enabled him to overtake Erik McCarthy by one point, 49-48, in the overall category while Andy Goupee finished a close third.
Joe Capehart and Austin Townsend rounded out the top five, respectively.
Anne Favolise-Stanton held off Kristine Guaraldo to win the women’s overall title 48 points to 47, as Guaraldo, who finished third among women at the Turkey Trot, needed to finish at least second to tie Favolise-Stanton.
Guaraldo’s third-place effort netted her eight series points, and had she finished second in the Turkey Trot, she would have earned nine and a tie with Favolise-Stanton, since a runner’s best five races in the series account for his/her points.
Kathleen Bell, Kate Goupee and Angela Ewings closed out the top five.
Conner solid at NCAAs
University of Maine sophomore Corey Conner capped a storybook cross country season off Monday at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The native of North Townsend, Mass., finished 83rd out of 254 runners on a 6K course, traversing the challenging layout in 21 minutes, 11.2 seconds.
Conner placed ninth at the NCAA Regional Qualifier to earn a berth in Monday’s race, which was televised nationally on VERSUS.
Conner has also earned America East All-Academic and US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Northeast Region team laurels.
The Villanova women and Oklahoma State men won the team competitions.