By Gary Nager
As a native New Yorker who used to run on cold fall and even winter days in Central Park, the first-ever “Wiregrass Wobble Turkey Trot” 5K (3.1-mile) race and 1-mile fun run— held at the Shops at Wiregrass mall Thanksgiving morning — was an icy cold blast from the past for me. Click through for a slideshow from the chilly Trot!
Thankfully, I wasn’t running in the event, where the start-time temperature was only 35º, I was just there to shoot it, but a spectacular total of roughly 1,500 determined men, women, teens and children did come out to compete, burn off a few hundred calories before indulging in their respective Thanksgiving feasts later in the day — and raise money for a number of charities.
The New Tampa Rotary, New Tampa Family YMCA and the FitNiche store in the Wiregrass mall co-sponsored the event, with each sponsor selecting its own charities to benefit, and benefit they did, as approximately 500 of the day’s 1,500 participants (at least 1,100 of which ran the full 5K) showed up on race day, which was hundreds more people than the organizers were expecting or even hoping would show up for a first-time road race with limited pre-publicity.
And, even though we went to press too soon after the event itself to find out how much money was raised or to even be able to announce all of the age group winners of the 5K, the bottom line was that a lot of local folks came out to “enjoy” a spirited run/walk on the coldest day in months.
New Tampa Rotarian and local entertainer Bob Thompson emceed the Wobble and FitNiche Wesley Chapel general manager Brian Brink announced the winners, as the runners and walkers were warming themselves on post-race coffee or hot chocolate and filled their empty tummies with bananas, bagels and more.
And, even though we can’t tell you all of the winners in this space, here are some of the results that were immediately available after the race. I did hear a lot of folks saying that the cold temperatures actually slowed down a lot of the runners, most of whom say they did not run their personal bests.
Overall Winner – Tony Walker, age 39, 18:33
Men’s Masters Winner – Jay Chancellor (2nd place overall), 41, 18:34
Overall Women’s Winner – Angelique Atlas (11th overall), 15, 20:23
Women’s Masters Winner – Vera Sanchez (70th overall), 50, 24:00
Proceeds from this first Wiregrass Wobble will benefit Feeding America of Tampa bay (the charity selected by FitNiche), as well as the local charities selected by the New Tampa Rotary (which meets Friday mornings for breakfast at Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club) and the New Tampa Family YMCA.
For more race results, plus finish line photos provided by Overflow Church, visit Facebook.com/Wiregrass Wobble Turkey Trot.