Gobble Gallop ties together family and friends in annual event

Eat to run, or run to eat? With mashed potatoes, gravy, and carved turkey on their minds, runners partook in the Duluth’s Running Campany’s seventh annual Gobble Gallop races on an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving morning before filling their stomachs with thanksgiving food. “The motivation is to run so you can eat so much pie later,” 5k runner Lisa Berg, of Duluth, said. This year, 1,880 participants ran in the 5k alone, according to mtecresults.com, and many more cheered on the sidelines.

Racers could chose from the Gobble Giddy Up! quarter mile kids’ run, the Tough Turkey 1-mile sprint, the Gobble Gallop 5k, or the Gobble Gait 2-mile walk.

The 5k started and finished on London Road, taking runners on a loop through downtown Duluth via Superior Street. The other races took shorter variations of this route.

Duluth Running Company’s own John Heitzman and Katie McGee secured first place in the men and women’s divisions.

Heitzman, of Superior, was the first to cross the finish line on London Rd, doing so in 15 minutes and 26 seconds.

Two minutes later, McGee led the way for the women in 17 minutes and 48 seconds.

Her Duluth Running Co. teammate, and former UMD runner, Rachael Stack, followed her with a time of 18:12. Stack ran side-by-side with her teammate, and the recent UMD runner, Kyle Larson.

The two also ran the Chicago marathon together a month ago and said the 5k was just training for longer races.

“It’s just another race,” Larson said, “something to run.”

For others, the race was a festive, family event.

Jan and Stan Burns, of Duluth, dressed in costume for the Gobble Gait.

Jan tied an orange garbage bag with a jack-o-lantern smiley face on it around her torso and Stan wore a gray sweatshirt with a red pi symbol displayed on the front.

Together, they were pumpkin pie.

Creative costumes were also displayed by Thanksgiving enthusiast 5k runners.

Cousins, Ailee Larson, of Lutsen, and Lisa Berg, of Duluth, with their friend Lensa Solomon, of Minneapolis, walked the 5k together, attached in a four-legged pair of black slacks.

“Thanksgiving’s about working together and family, so it took teamwork,” Larson said in reference to walking in the pants.

The three practiced walking together up and down a spiral staircase at their grandparents’ home the night before in preparation for the race.

“It’s all about keeping a rhythm,” Berg said.

Along with pumpkin pie and four-legged slacks, many racers dressed as turkeys. There was even a turkey drumstick costume.

One family banded together as the pilgrim crew.

Jay Fahl, of Eagan, wore a pilgrim outfit for the 5k his aunt Marie Hoder had made for him and other family members that were racing.

Including Fahl, there were five pilgrims and a turkey in the family.

“Marie was feeling festive last night, so she made us all costumes,” Fahl said.

Fahl wore a tall, black brimmed hat, a black shirt, and a wide, rounded white collar.

Hoder made most of the costumes from scratch. “We just threw all the black stuff together out of the gear we had at home, I bought the hats online, and we cut these little collars out last night at the bowling alley,” she said.

Not only was the outfit fun for Fahl, but it also amused onlookers.

“The support was great,” Fahl said about the race. “Every time someone said, ‘Go pilgrim!’ you knew who they were talking to.”

The family plans to dress as pilgrims again next year, but to extend their outfits to include black buckles on their shoes.

BY ALOYSIA POWER power270@d.umn.edu

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