Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Attending Turkey Trot runs in the family

CLEARWATER — As the 32nd annual St. Petersburg Times Turkey Trot draws an expected 16,000 runners and walkers to Clearwater High School this morning, Ryan Beckman will be among them for the 26th consecutive year.

He's 25.

"The first time I didn't have a choice," the Dunedin resident said.

Ryan was still in utero, about to make his worldly entrance on Dec. 11, 1984.

Back then, the world hadn't turned into a chilling totalitarian society as predicted by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, but we were stuck on mounds of moussed hair, shocked that Madonna was like a virgin and grateful that the force was with us.

Like totally.

That Thanksgiving, a very pregnant Susan Beckman got up at the crack of dawn, loaded her daughter, Amy, into a stroller, joined a friend and walked a leisurely mile in the Turkey Trot, when it was still a fledgling.

"There were only about 1,500 to 1,800 people in those days," said Susan, now 55 and a registered nurse at Mease Countryside Hospital.

The family has been shakin' their tail feathers every year since, getting up with the roosters and gobbling down the tradition of fun.

"When I got to be 7 or 8, I'd run on my own," Ryan said.

He kept running, first entering the 1-mile Gobbler, then the 5K Wingding, then the Wingding and circling back to run the 1-mile with his little cousins.

"We never did the Turkey Trot (10K)," he said. "We thought that was for real runners."

Not that he isn't athletic. Ryan played baseball for Dunedin High School and Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Today he works as a sales representative for Athletic House in Clearwater, a custom silkscreen T-shirt and embroidery company.

He remembers the years he and his cousins wore silly turkey hats or clown wigs or spandex. Their little group has grown to about three dozen family members and friends, who range from infants to those nearing 80.

After the Turkey Trot, Ryan and the gang will go over to his mother's home for egg casserole, bagels, coffee cake and pancakes.

"I will put out two newspapers so we can shop for Black Friday deals," Susan said. "Then we'll put the parade on TV."

Typically, they eat, then crash.

Around 3:30 p.m., they start making final preparations for a Thanksgiving dinner for up to 40 people, including those invited because they would have been alone on the holiday.

"I always look forward to the Turkey Trot," Ryan said, "sometimes, more than the Thanksgiving dinners themselves."

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at

>>fast facts

If you go

The fees

Race-day registration fees are $10 for the Gobbler and $20 for the 5K and 10K races.

Road closures

Here's a list of road closures (Drivers should exercise caution while traveling through these intersections on race day):

• Eastfield Drive from Lake-view to Nursery roads will be intermittently closed to traffic.

• Hercules Avenue from Druid to Lakeview roads will be intermittently closed to traffic.

• Keene Road from Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard to Nursery Road will be closed to traffic. Highland Avenue can be used as a detour route.

• Lake Avenue from Druid to Belleair roads will be intermittently closed to traffic.

• Magnolia Drive from Wellington Drive to Keene Road will be intermittently closed to traffic.

• Nursery Road from Eastfield Drive to Keene Road will be intermittently closed to traffic.

• Wellington Drive from Druid Road to Magnolia Drive will be intermittently closed to traffic.

Attending Turkey Trot runs in the family 11/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 6:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tropics watch: The latest on Harvey and what systems could hit Florida


    While Eastern and Central America monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Harvey, two tropical disturbances are moving through the Atlantic.

  2. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  3. Carlton: A moment of sanity when citizens finally said no


    If you were looking for some small sign of sanity in the world, here's one courtesy of the people of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

    The Confederate memorial statue outside the old Hillsborough courthouse is now boxed up in plywood to prevent vandalism. Private donors have ponied up money to have the statue relocated to a cemetery. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
  4. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre


    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.