By Scott Prater
To the casual observer, Nov. 19th’s Turkey Trot may have seemed like your average Thanksgiving-time 5-kilometer fun run, but at Schriever, the event took on a different feel depending on whom you asked.
Eliza Enyart was the first female to cross the finish line in 24 minutes, 25 seconds, but she saw the Turkey Trot as a “fun” run. Three participants even chose to walk the course east of the fitness center. Meanwhile, Josh Burdick and Heath Busche began the race by elbowing each other for tactical position at the start line.
The pair set the trail ablaze as Fitness Center Director Seth Cannello counted down and shouted “GO!” As they battled for the lead, however, many of the some 40 participants held their own motivations.
Tom Hull, viewing the trot as chance to toughen his body, ran the second half of the race bare footed.
“A lot of martial artists run barefoot,” he said. “I practice both Muay Thai and Jujutsu, and part of Muay Thai is body hardening,” he said. “Running barefoot is a really good way to strengthen and toughen your feet.”
Following the race, he gasped for air and struggled to recover like everyone else, but when some of his fellow runners noticed his bare feet, he was more than happy to show how they were free of blisters and cuts.
“You have to work your way up to something like this,” he said. “People who want to try it should probably start on a rubberized track, or on a sandy trail. I run six times a week, but usually only two or three times while barefoot.”
Josh Morell runs roughly five times a week as well, only he’s training for his next Air Force Fitness Assessment. Since joining the mission support group physical training program roughly five weeks ago, Morell has slashed more than 40 seconds off his 1.5 mile run time. He finished 10th in the Turkey Trot, crossing the finish line in 24:35.
“We actually caught a bit of a break with the Turkey Trot today,” Morell said. “Normally on Fridays we start at 6:15 a.m. and run 6.5 miles. “But, it’s a great program. I plan to max out both the push-ups and sit-ups segments on my next test and my goal is lose another 20 pounds.”
While Morell ran near the front of the pack, Burdick and Busche separated themselves.
“We work and run together a lot,” Burdick said, referring to Busche. “And yeah, we have a little friendly rivalry going. We both ran in a 5K at Palmer Park last weekend and he beat me by like 36 seconds, so I was determined to beat him here.”
Burdick led from the start, but didn’t feel comfortable up front until the final kilometer.
“He (Busche) is a better technical runner than me, and he runs faster downhill, so I was constantly looking back to see if he was catching up,” Burdick said. “That helped push me, I think. This was my personal best for sure.”
With a time of 20:38, he took the win by more than a minute over Busche.
Cannello said the turnout for this year’s event was above average, thanks to group participation from squadrons like the 50th Contracting Squadron and the 50th Mission Support Group.
“I always appreciate it when squadrons participate as a group,” he said. “I believe it builds espirit de corps and is great way to spend time with your coworkers in a non-work environment.”