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Times Turkey Trot races bring out 16,000 runners, 1,000 volunteers

CLEARWATER

A fter the runners turned the tight corner and funneled into a fenced corridor toward the finish at Clearwater High, they were confronted with more than their own limit of endurance.

"Where's your number?'' a man shouted. "Stay to the right," a woman instructed.

Beyond them, staggered along the final few hundred yards of the 32nd Times Turkey Trot course, were many other like-minded volunteers who helped the 16,023 runners from around the county and state who covered the course in Thursday morning's 5K (3.1-mile) Wingding, 5K Fun Run, 1-mile Gobbler and 10K (6.2-mile) Turkey Trot properly get where they needed to go.

Turkey Trot race director Skip Rogers said the list of volunteers is near 1,000.

"Without them, we wouldn't have a race," Rogers said.

Some clicked a button to authenticate each finisher's time.

Others, such as Laura and Earl Parker of Clearwater, shouted "Good job'' before guiding racers through the maze of lanes before the finish line.

"I just started running about four months ago and decided to volunteer for this race for the first time," Parker said. "I love it. These runners are my heroes. I don't have to do it, but I'm going to stay out here and encourage every last runner."

The races brought out all kinds of participants, from elite runners aiming for top times to the more casual ones intent on completing the course at a leisurely pace.

Then there were those who played dress up.

John Schraeder of Clearwater decided to run the 5K fun run in a fully inflated costume depicting a personal trainer. "The costume was something I had left over from Halloween," Schraeder said. "I didn't even start the race with it on. I live along the course and veered off to go back home, put it on and finish the race."

In Thursday's 5K races, Ryan Ripley and Briana Whaley were the men's and women's winners, respectively.

Lee Stephens won the men's 10K race for the first time. Sara Petrick won the women's 10K race, beating five-time defending champion Christa Stephens (formerly Christa Benton).

Times Turkey Trot races bring out 16,000 runners, 1,000 volunteers 11/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 25, 2010 9:43pm]
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